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Islamic Jihad leader and family killed in Israeli air strike; 80 wounded

Feb. 16, 2008 11:03 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 16, 2008 11:03 A.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - Eight Palestinians, including a senior Islamic Jihad leader and his wife and three of his children were killed in an Israeli air stirke on a house in the Al-Bureij refugee camp, near Gaza City in the central Gaza Strip on Friday night.

80 others were wounded in the densely populated residential neighbourhood.

Eyewitnesses said that an Israeli F-16 aircraft fired at least one missile that hit the home of Al-Quds Brigades commander 42-year-old Ayman Fayed, also known as Abu Abdallah. The three-story building was completely destroyed.

Muawiyya Hassanain, director of ambulance and emergency services at the Palestinian health ministry said Fayed, his wife Marwa Azzam, his 13-year-old daughter Basma and his two sons 5-year-old Ayub and 18-year-old Ali. Others who were killed were named as Talal Salah Abu 'Oun, Attallah Ismael As-Samiri and Zakaria Nabil Al-Kafafi.

The dead and wounded were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah and several other hospitals. Seven people, described as being in a serious condition, were taken to Ash- Shifaa Hospital.

The only witness to the massacre was 11-year old Muhammad, who was injured in his legs. " I heard my father asking my mother to hurry to the basement. They were afraid of the planes flying over the house when suddenly I heard the explosion and found myself in hospital," he said.

"They told me that all my family members died and I still can't believe what happened, I heard that my 15-year-old brother Adam is still alive but he's seriously injured," he added.

The assassinated leader's mother 60-year-old Rasmeyeh told Ma'an "They assassinated my son and his family leaving me all alone. I ask God for endurance, this is God's will."

His wife, Marwa's mother said, "They killed my daughter and her family. I know they kill in cold blood and they don't differentiate between a child and a mother."

A military spokeswoman in Tel Aviv denied that Israeli forces had any involvement in the incident, according to the Al-Jazeera news website.

Brigades promise revenge

Spokesman for the Al-Quds brigades Abu Ahmad said that the Israeli occupation has lost his way by starting the fight against locals, women and children.

He added that Israel should expect a "strong response" for the killings.

Al-Quds Brigades leader Abu Abir said "the Israeli crime is an indication of further assassinations against our people."

He vowed to avenge Fayed's death.

For its part, the Islamic Jihad said that the Israel "will pay for their crimes, especially the last attack against a residential neighborhood that resulted in the martyrdom of 8 people."

Hamas spokesman, Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri said in a press conference that "this crime has opened the door of the struggle and we won't stay silent in the face of these crimes."

Appeals to international community

Fatah also condemned Friday's massacre in Gaza.

Fatah spokesman Fahmi Az-Za'arir said that Friday's assassination showed that Israel and its leaders have adopted a policy of organized crime and the international community must force them to stop such policies.

He added that the United States and the International Quartet must assume their responsibilities and stop the Israeli aggression.

Az-Za'arir concluded by saying that all attempts by Israel to impose its terms of surrender on our people and their leadership, or to try and deter us from our aspirations and our national rights, will not succeed and we will continue our path towards freedom and independence at all costs.

Said Abu Mujahid, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees in Palestine, said that Israeli forces had crossed the line by persisting in carrying out atrocities and targeting homes in Al-Bureij refugee camp.

Abu Mujahid called on the resistance factions to respond.

In turn, the National Resistance Brigades denounced the Israeli massacre in the camp, saying they will continue to attack Israeli positions.

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