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Airstrikes kill 3 in south Gaza

March 10, 2012 1:06 P.M. (Updated: March 11, 2012 1:51 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Airstrikes continue to rock the Gaza Strip, killing three men on Saturday, raising to 15 the number of Palestinians killed since Israel assassinated a military leader 24 hours earlier.

A further 26 Palestinians have been injured in the strikes, five of whom are in a serious condition, Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said.

The latest deadly attack killed Mahdi Abu Shawish, 24, and injured three others when it targeted a motorcycle near Rabia Al-Adawiya school in southern city Rafah, medics told Ma'an.

Abu Shawish was affiliated to the Popular Resistance Committees' armed wing, whose chief was killed on Friday, a Ma'an reporter said.

The Al-Nasser Saladin brigades said an airstrike later Saturday on northern Beit Hanoun injured another of its fighters.

Earlier in the day, a drone fired on a motorcycle strike east of Khan Younis killing two men, Abu Salmiya said.

The body of Hussein Barham Al-Breim, 51, was transferred to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, Abu Salmiya said. Mansour Kamal Abu Nuseira, 20, was taken to European Hospital, where he later died.

Also on Saturday, Israeli warplanes bombed a Al-Qassam brigades militant site in western Gaza City neighborhood Abraj Al-Maqousi, injuring three men who were transferred to al-Shifa hospital.

The site was entirely flattened, shattering windows in nearby apartments, witnesses said.

Witnesses said that the location was completely destroyed and it also resulted in breaking the windows of the apartments near the main location.

Israel's army said in a statement that the strike on Khan Younis "thwarted a terrorist squad from firing a rocket at Israel from the southern Gaza Strip. Direct hits were identified."

The statement continued: "The IDF is prepared to defend the residents of Israel and will respond with strength and determination against any attempt to execute terrorist attacks."

The army said later strikes on Rafah and Gaza City "targeted two terror activity sites ... in response to the rockets fired at Israel." A spokeswoman said she was not aware of the later strike on Beit Hanoun.

Israel's military said earlier that about 90 rockets had been fired toward Israeli territory at the weekend, injuring four people including one seriously in southern Israel, while eight others were treated for shock.

Islamic Jihad’s military wing said 10 of its fighters have died since Friday. The Al-Quds Brigades launched 41 Grad missiles, 20 projectiles, six mortar shells, and three 107-mm rockets, it said.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement Saturday that the movement holds Israel "fully responsible for the escalation and its results," calling on Egypt to intervene to end the suffering in Gaza.

The Palestinian people have a right to defend themselves against aggression, he said.

Medical official Abu Salmiya called on international organizations and human rights bodies to fulfill their commitment to halt bloodshed in Gaza, in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

After the severe medical and electricity shortages in Gaza, the military operations on the Gaza Strip require urgent intervention to save Gaza from a humanitarian catastrophe, Salmiya said.
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