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2 killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza

Dec. 8, 2011 1:37 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 9, 2011 10:14 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- An Israeli airstrike killed two people in the central Gaza Strip on Thursday, medics and security officials said.

Medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said two people died and two others were wounded after the explosion, which witnesses said hit a car parked near Omar al-Mukhtar street.

A Ma'an reporter named those killed as Issam Subhi al-Batsh and Subhi Alaa al-Batsh.

Hamas armed wing Al-Qassam Bridges said in a statement it was mourning its operative Subhi Alaa al-Batsh, and the Ayman Juda Brigades, a sub-division of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades, said Issam Subhi al-Batsh was one of its members.

Crowds gathered around the site of the blast in the busy street, and locals told Ma'an that the explosion damaged three buses that had brought high school students for a picnic in the area. The students scattered in a state of panic, they said.

The strength of the blast threw one body outside of the car park area, while another was extracted from the car, witnesses said.

Abu Salmiya said the wounded were taken to Shifa hospital in Gaza City to treat light and moderate injuries.

The Israeli army said in a statement that its aircraft hit central and northern Gaza and confirmed a "direct hit."

It said it targeted Issam al-Batsh and another person, who were "both affiliated with a terrorist squad that intended to execute a terrorist attack against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers via the western border."

Spokesman of the Gaza government, Taher al-Nunu condemned the bombing, and expressed concern about a series of threats made by Israel in the lead up to the strike.

Al-Nunu called on Egypt and the United Nations to intervene as soon as possible to stop the "continuous crimes against Palestinians."
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