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Medics: 1 dead in Gaza airstrike

Jan. 11, 2011 4:19 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 12, 2011 1:28 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israeli warplanes struck southern Gaza on Tuesday, killing one Palestinian and injuring a second, medics said.

Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmia identified the deceased as Muhammad An-Najjar, 25.

Witnesses said Israeli forces targeted An-Najjar as he was riding his motorcycle east of Khan Younis.

Abu Salmia said a passenger on the motorcycle was injured and taken to the Nasser Hospital.

The Israeli military said it targeted An-Najjar in a joint operation between air and ground forces.

An-Najjar was an operative of Islamic Jihad and "involved in planning a massive terror attack in the heart of Israel," the army said in a statement.

"A direct hit was confirmed," the statement said.

Earlier Tuesday, Gaza government spokesman Taher An-Nunu called on Palestinian factions operating in the Strip to comply with "what has been agreed on," seemingly implying the Hamas-led government would enforce an unofficial cease fire with Israel.

An-Nunu said the Gaza government was in talks with local contacts and on an international level to avoid a full-scale Israeli offensive on the besieged coastal enclave.

Right-wing Israeli ministers have urged their government to respond to projectiles fired from Gaza with tough military action.

Tension along the Gaza-Israel border has heightened in recent weeks, with an increase in projectiles launched from Gaza and several Israeli airstrikes shelling sites across the Strip.
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