Middle East News
Israeli airstrikes kill two, injure 38
Mar 12, 2012, 7:28 GMT
Gaza/Tel Aviv - Israel carried out seven airstrikes in Gaza overnight, killing two Palestinian militants and injuring 38, a Gazan health official said Monday.
The deaths brought to 20 the number of Palestinians killed in the latest round of violence in Gaza and southern Israel since Friday.
Some 70 Palestinians had been injured, Gaza emergency services chief Adham Abu Salmiya said.
One Islamic Jihad militant was killed when a motorcycle was hit at about 7 am (0500 GMT) east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip near the border with Israel, while a second was killed less than an hour earlier in a strike on an Islamic Jihad site, elsewhere east of Khan Younis, witnesses said.
Many were injured when at least one missile fired by an Israeli Apache helicopter or F-16 jet hit a house east of the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, also near the Israeli border. About 20 were reported injured in that incident, including women and children, as the building and neighbouring houses were badly damaged.
Palestinian militants avenged Friday's targeted killing of a senior Gaza militant leader by launching a barrage of rockets at southern Israel, firing mostly from orchards and groves along the border.
An Israeli military spokesman in Tel Aviv reported a 'direct hit' on a militant early Monday, 'moments before' he was about to launch a rocket.
He said the air force had also targeted five launching sites overnight, and a weapons storage building.
He said Israel's Iron Dome missile defence battery shot down another Russian-type Grad missile over the southern city of Beersheba, where three Grads landed Sunday, although others were shot down as well.
Gaza militants had fired more than 147 rockets at Israel since Friday, he said.
So far efforts by Egypt, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the radical Islamist Hamas movement ruling Gaza to restore calm have born no fruit, with the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) rejecting a truce.
The two factions have claimed responsibility for most of the rockets fired since Friday. Some 17 of the 20 dead were PRC and Islamic Jihad militants. Two others were civilians, including a 12-year-old boy killed by shrapnel from an Israeli missile while on his way to school early Sunday.
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