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Early morning strikes kill 3 Hamas militants

April 9, 2011 8:50 P.M. (Updated: April 10, 2011 12:37 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces resumed air strikes on the Gaza Strip overnight and again in the early morning hours of Saturday, killing three and injuring several others.

The deadliest strike hit the car of Hamas leaders overnight, killing Al-Qassam Brigades leader Taysir Abu Sneima and his assistant Muhammad Awaja and injuring critically a militant identified as Shadi Az-Zatmah, medical officials said.

Spokesman of the Gaza Strip’s higher committee of ambulance and emergency service Adham Abu Salmiya confirmed that two dead bodies and a critically injured man were transferred to the Abu Yousif An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah on Saturday morning.

Medics said the dead body of a third Hamas militant, identified as Ahmad Nabil Zaytouniyya, was evacuated to the Kamal Udwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya along with another man seriously injured in an 8:30 a.m. strike.

The early morning victims brought the death toll in the coastal enclave to 17 since Thursday afternoon, with more than 60 injuries, 12 of them serious. Six of the dead have been identified as civilians.

The eleven killed on Friday alone made that day the deadliest since Israel waged its winter offensive in 2008-9. The 22-day bombardment killed more than 1,400 Gazans, most of them non-combatants. Thirteen Israelis, including 10 soldiers were also killed.

Overnight strikes

The Hamas leaders were assassinated while in their a private car in the Tel As-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah in the south.

In the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes targeted a car parked in the Ad-Daraj neighborhood of Gaza City causing material damage to several vehicles in the lot. No injuries have been reported from the blast.

A third strike targeted a training base for Hamas’ military wing in Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip, and a fourth raid strike hit the Al-Umour neighborhood in Khan Younis. No injuries have been reported in either hit.

The border are in Rafah was also hit by an Israeli missile from the air while Israeli artillery resumed shelling targets in Gaza City Saturday morning causing no injuries.

Another air raid on Jabaliya injured two civilians in Iseila Street. Both were evacuated to Kamal Udwan Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the strikes, saying the airforce had targeted overnight a "terror activity site," a "vehicle containing weaponry," wherein a secondary blast was detected on impact," "three Hamas commanders" in southern Gaza Strip and a smuggling tunnel near Rafah.

Netanyahu: Bus bombing 'over the line'

Israel linked the latest barrage of attacks to the launch of a projectile from Gaza which hit a school bus near Beersheba on Wednesday, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to say from Prague Friday that, "The attack on a school bus yesterday crossed the line ... Whoever tries to hurt and murder children, his blood will be on his own head."

The school-bus hit, where one teenager was critically injured and the driver wounded, came after three days of air and artillery strikes injured five, and a shelling that took out the telephone and internet lines, cutting off telecommunications access in the northern Strip for hours.

On 2 April, an Israeli air strike killed three Hamas operatives.
Ma'an News Agency
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