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Early morning airstrike kills 1

March 30, 2011 9:33 A.M. (Updated: March 31, 2011 11:52 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces launched an air strike on the southern Gaza Strip shortly after the dawn prayer on Wednesday, killing one militant and injuring a second.

In a statement from the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, officials identified the slain man as Mohammad Abu Mu'ammer, killed by an Israeli air strike near a mosque in the An-Nasser neighborhood in northeastern Rafah, near the refugee camp.

Spokesman of the higher committee of ambulance and emergency services Adham Abu Salmiya said the 24-year-old man died shortly after being taken to hospital. He confirmed that a second was being treated for critical injuries as a result of the strike.

Officials said a drone had carried out the attack.

Mu'ammer is the sixth member of the Al-Quds Brigades to be killed in the last ten days, as border violence increased following a March 16 airstrike which killed two Hamas members in the central Strip. Up to that point, Israeli strikes had targeted areas on the border.

An Israeli military statement said "aircraft targeted and hit a terrorist squad in the Southern Gaza Strip, which had launched rockets towards Israeli communities yesterday."

The statement said strikes also targeted a smuggling tunnel near Rafah, where goods are brought into the coastal enclave from Egypt.

Israel's military said it would "continue to respond with determination to any attempt to use terror against the citizens of Israel," and added that it "holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip."

Since a barrage of nearly 50 shells toward four Israeli military targets on March 19, which Hamas claimed as a response to the death of its two fighters days earlier, the military groups of Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Resistance Committees have claimed the majority of projectile fire.
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