Israeli air strike wounds nine

Israeli aircraft attacked two buildings in the Gaza Strip early on Friday, wounding at least nine people, Palestinian officials said.

    Jabalya in Gaza City has been a frequent target of attacks

    The first air strike targeted the home of a local armed resistance leader in the northern town of Jabalya.

    Relatives of Salim Thabet, an activist of al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in the northern town of Jabalya, said the army told him to evacuate the home about 15 minutes before the air strike.

    The relatives said they were told to remain out of the area because more attacks were possible.

    Hospital officials said the five people in a nearby house were moderately wounded.

    The second air strike hit a two-storey home in Gaza City, setting the structure on fire and causing heavy damage. Several nearby homes were damaged, and four people were moderately wounded, officials said.

    Missile fired

    Security officials said one missile fired at the home did not explode, and a bomb squad was called in to dismantle it.

    The army said both air strikes had targeted weapons-storage facilities, and that it warned occupants to leave the areas before the attacks. The army, which carried out similar attacks earlier this week, says the warnings are meant to avoid civilian casualties.

    Israel launched an offensive in Gaza on June 28, three days after fighters infiltrated Israel and captured an Israeli soldier. Despite the offensive, the soldier still has not been released.

    Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades is a group loosely linked to the Fatah movement of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.

    Hamas leader held

    Earlier on Thursday, witnesses said Israeli forces killed a Palestinian and detained a senior member of the governing Hamas movement in a southern Gaza raid.

    An Israeli army spokesman said Israeli soldiers clashed with Palestinian fighters during the raid on a house in the southern Gaza village of Abasan near the town of Khan Yunus.

    Witnesses said an Israeli helicopter fired two missiles.

    Family members said the Palestinian man killed on Thursday was Youssef Abu Daqqa, the brother of Younis Abu Daqqa, a prominent member of Hamas in southern Gaza. Younis was detained.

    Jihad leader shot

    On Wednesday, a top Palestinian armed faction leader in the West Bank was shot in the head and seriously wounded, fighters and hospital officials said.

    Aljazeera said Husam Jaradat, the West Bank leader of Islamic Jihad's military wing al-Quds Brigades, sustained serious injuries after Israeli soldiers attempted to assassinate him in Jenin's refugee camp.

    Medics said he was taken to hospital and was in critical condition.

    Undercover unit

    An Israeli undercover unit stormed the camp, broke into a house and opened fire at Jaradat, Aljazeera said.

    But Islamic Jihad said they were not sure Israel was behind the shooting. The Israeli army said it was checking the report.

    Late on Wednesday, an Israeli tank fired a shell at two men who approached Gaza's border fence with Israel near Abasan, according to Palestinian officials and the army.

    Israel has killed more than 200 Palestinians - most of them resistance fighters - since the offensive began two months ago. Palestinian officials fear that Israel, after battling Hezbollah fighters to a stalemate in Lebanon, will now turn its full attention back on Gaza.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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