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7 killed in overnight airstrikes on Gaza

Aug. 24, 2011 8:02 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 26, 2011 10:01 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Seven Palestinians were killed and at least 30 injured as multiple Israeli airstrikes targeted Gaza overnight Wednesday.

Hisham Adnan Abu Harb was killed as an airstrike hit a smuggling tunnel in Rafah, southern Gaza.

Earlier, reports said that three people were unaccounted for after the Rafah airstrike. Four bodies were later pulled from rubble in the Rafah area.

Hamas official Imad Muhammad Hamada had earlier said that crews were searching for the missing persons.

Another Palestinian, Salama Al-Masri, was killed and 20 more injured as Israeli planes fired at a gym in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, Emergency services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya told Ma'an.

Ala' Adnan Al-Jakhbir, 22, died Thursday morning from wounds sustained in the strike in Beit Lahiya, medics said.

Among the injured were seven children and four women, Abu Salmiya added.

"The sites were targeted in response to the firing of rockets from Gaza at Israel yesterday evening," an Israeli army statement said. Over 10 projectiles hit southern Israel Wednesday night, injuring an infant, the statement added.

Eilat deadly ambushes spark border violence

The latest airstrikes come amid renewed cross border violence as hostilities flared following a series of shooting attacks in southern Israel last Thursday.

A fragile truce among Gaza militants was announced Sunday evening following four days of border violence.

Israeli airstrikes have killed 19 Palestinians following last Thursday's attacks, of whom at least 14 have been identified as militants, and more than 50 people have been wounded.

During this time Palestinians have fired more than 150 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli towns and cities in the south, killing one man and injuring more than 20, one critically.

Projectiles and airstrikes renew Tuesday

The truce, reportedly brokered by Egyptian officials, seemed to come unstuck on Tuesday after an Islamic Jihad commander was killed in an Israeli airstrike and a barrage of projectiles from Gaza hit Israel.

The Tuesday strike in the Tal As-Sultan area of southern Gaza killed Ismail Al-Asmar, a field commander in the Al-Quds Brigades, and injured one other person, said Gaza health official Adham Abu Salmiya.

Palestinian medics later reported finding the body of Ismail Amoum, 65, in the same area. They said his body was blown to pieces, suggesting he may have been caught in the strikes.

Six projectiles were fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday with no injuries reported, an Israeli army spokeswoman said.

The projectiles landed near Hof Askelon, Ofakim, Pithat Shalom and Eshkol in the south of Israel.

Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for firing 5 Grad rockets towards Ashkelon and Eshkol on Wednesday to avenge the murder of Al-Asmar, a statement said.

Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the PFLP, also claimed responsibility for firing a rocket towards Ofakim on Wednesday, a statement said.

Israeli warplanes struck Gaza late Wednesday killing one Palestinian, identified as Atieh Maqat of the Al-Quds Brigades, and injuring another in the Ash-Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City, a Ma'an correspondent reported.

The Israeli army said that it had targeted a "terrorist squad" firing projectiles at the Eshkol regional council, south Israel.

The Hamas government accused Israel of violating the unwritten ceasefire agreement with its airstrikes late Wednesday and called for UN intervention.

"Such aggressive behavior confirms that Israel has no true intention of maintaining the truce and insists on escalating the situation," Hamas said.

AFP contributed to this report
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