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Israeli warplanes strike Gaza City

Aug. 19, 2011 9:36 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 19, 2011 5:26 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes struck the Az-Zaitoun neighborhood south of Gaza City on Friday morning after seven Palestinians were killed in raids on the coastal enclave.

The daylight strike in Az-Zaitoun caused damage to a home but no casualties, medics said. An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the attack.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military said 12 projectiles had been fired from Gaza into southern Israel since midnight.

The increased rocket fire came a day after militants Israel said were from Gaza staged a coordinated series of attacks on a desert road near the Red Sea resort town of Eilat, killing eight Israelis.

An Israeli military source told Ma'an that operations were underway in southern Gaza following the series of attacks.

The country's defense minister, Ehud Barak, said earlier in a statement that "The real source of the terror is in Gaza and we will act against them with full force and determination."

Just after midnight Friday, Israeli warplanes launched a series of raids targeting Gaza City, the northern towns of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, and Khan Younis in the south.

Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said an airstrike on a home near the former intelligence services headquarters in Gaza City killed 13-year-old Mahmoud Abu Samra and injured 18 others.

A Palestinian was also missing in the Rafah tunnel area, medics said.

Elsewhere, Apache helicopters fired at least two missiles toward a Palestinian military site in the town of Beit Lahiya and a missile near Khan Younis landed in an open area and caused no injuries or damage.

A Ma'an correspondent described a "state of panic" across Gaza as Israel renewed bombings just hours after an airstrike killed six Palestinians in Rafah, near Egypt's border.

The airstrike hit a home belonging to Popular Resistance Committees official Khaled Shaath, who was killed instantly. His two-year-old son Malek later died of injuries sustained in the strike.

The attacks killed four others in Rafah. Among them were PRC military wing chief Abu Awad Nayrab and PRC operatives Imad Hamad, Abu Jamil Shaath and Khaled Masri, medical officials said.

Israel says three of those Palestinians were involved in planning Thursday's attacks in Eilat. Israeli forces also killed five attackers, officials said.

The PRC confirmed the deaths in a statement posted to its website and vowed to exact a bitter price for the killing of its leader and other senior cadres.

A PRC spokesman, Abu Mujahed, said Israel fired the first shots Thursday and would be held responsible for "all the consequences of its crimes" in Rafah.

The military wing of the PRC claimed responsibility for launching two rockets toward the coastal city of Ashkelon, while Israel's army said its "Iron Dome" infiltration system stopped four attacks.

Early Friday, two Israelis were injured, one seriously, when a Grad rocket fired by militants in Gaza slammed into the coastal town of Ashdod in southern Israel early on Friday, police said.

"One person was seriously wounded in the attack, and another person was lightly hurt," police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP, saying two rockets had hit the town. The second caused no damage or injuries, she said.

The Israeli military confirmed the strike saying a school and a synagogue had been damaged in the attack.

"Two rockets fired at the city of Ashdod caused damage and injuries at a synagogue and school," a statement said.

AFP contributed to this report.

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