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Medics: Israel drone strike kills 3 in Gaza City

Aug. 20, 2011 12:52 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 20, 2011 9:32 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes killed three Palestinians in an airstrike in central Gaza City late Friday, medics said, raising the death toll to 14 in the coastal enclave since a deadly attack in southern Israel on Thursday.

The latest strike hit a civilian car killing three people from the same family including a 5-year-old boy and a doctor, Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said, adding that three others were wounded.

Israel has carried out more than a dozen airstrikes across the Gaza Strip following a series of deadly shooting attacks in the Negev desert left eight Israelis dead on Thursday.

Fourteen Palestinians have now been killed and scores injured after Israeli officials blamed Gaza-based militant group the Popular Resistance Committees, although the faction has denied any involvement.

On Friday evening, Hamas' armed wing the Al-Qassam Brigades called off a ceasefire with Israel and urged factions in Gaza to respond to Israeli attacks, Al-Aqsa Radio reported.

"There can be no truce with the Israeli occupation while it commits massacres against the Palestinian people without justification," a representative of the militant group was quoted as saying.

On Friday evening two Palestinians were killed in air raids near the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, a medical official said.

Earlier, an airstrike killed Samed Abdul Mu'ty Abed while he was riding a motorcycle in the north, medics said.

Another Palestinian, a 22-year-old identified as Muhammad Enayeh, was killed in a separate attack. His body and another injured person were taken Shifa hospital in Gaza City, medics said.

Abu Salmiya said missiles also targeted a concrete factory in the same area seriously injuring two locals.

On Friday morning, Israeli warplanes struck An-Nuseirat refugee camp leaving one Palestinian lightly injured, he said.

Fighter jets bombed a generator near the camp, causing a power outage across the area and missiles hit a training camp of the armed wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades, witnesses said.

The Israeli military said aircraft "targeted two weapons manufacturing sites in the central Gaza Strip and a terror activity site in both the northern and southern Gaza Strip."

"This is a response to the terror attacks executed against Israel in the last 24 hours," an army statement said.

At around 8 a.m. Friday Israel launched airstrikes on the Az-Zaitoun neighborhood south of Gaza City causing damage but no injuries, medics said.

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.

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.

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.

The overnight strikes followed a day of violence in which gunmen unleashed bloody mayhem on on a desert road near the Red Sea resort town of Eilat.

Six Israeli civilians, a soldier and a police officer were killed in several hours of attacks on a desert road some 20 kilometers north of Eilat.

Israel officials were quick to point the finger at Gaza, although the territory's Hamas rulers denied any connection to the attacks.

But the Israeli military said it held the Islamist group ultimately responsible for violence coming from the territory it controls.

"If Hamas wants an escalation, it will pay a high price," Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai told public radio on Friday, saying some form of ground operation in Gaza was not out of the question.

"All options are open, including a pin-point [ground] operation," he said.

Shortly after the attack near Eilat, Israeli warplanes attacked targets in southern Gaza which killed six people, including a two-year-old toddler and five militants from the Popular Resistance Committees.

The PRC vowed bitter revenge for the attack, which killed its leader and three other top cadres, and on Friday claimed responsibility for firing at least seven rockets and mortars into Israel.

AFP contributed to this report.
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