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Man hit by Israeli airstrike dies from injuries

Oct. 8, 2012 6:01 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 10, 2012 6:07 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Abdullah Hasan Makkawi, 25, died on Monday from injuries sustained in an Israeli airstrike on the southern Gaza Strip a day earlier, the Ministry of Health said.

Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said Makkawi died in Shifa Hospital. Makkawi was hit while riding his motorcycle in the Brazil neighborhood in Rafah.

Israel said Makkawi was a member of the Ashora Council of the Martyrs of Jerusalem. The raid also targeted Talaat Halil Muhammad Jarbi, a Global Jihad operative involved in firing rockets and manufacturing weapons, the Israeli military said in a statement.

Al-Qidra said 11 people were injuring in the strike on the busy Rafah neighborhood, including five children.

Hamas' military wing Izz Addin Al-Qassam Brigades and the Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigades said they fired rockets at Israeli military bases in response to the airstrike.

Israeli forces fired a barrage of artillery shells on the southern Gaza Strip early Monday injuring another five Palestinians, al-Qidra said.

Israel's military said its forces "targeted Hamas terror activity sites and terrorist squads responsible for the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip."

An army spokeswoman said up to 30 rockets had hit southern Israel early Monday, with no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

More than 10 Israeli artillery shells landed near Ammar Ibn Yasser Mosque east of Khan Younis, causing damage to the minaret and a water tower, witnesses said.

Later Monday morning, residents said a missile was fired at Rafah by an Israeli military aircraft, with no reports of casualties.

Meanwhile, Education Ministry official Ahmad Najjar said that five schools in the southern Gaza Strip were evacuated for safety reasons.

The Israeli army says over 470 rockets have been fired from Gaza this year, but it was the first time since June that Hamas had acknowledged launching rockets at Israel. A Hamas spokesman said the movement would not remain passive in the face of what it called "one-sided" Israeli violence.

Abu Ubaida, spokesman of the Hamas armed wing Izz El-Deen Al-Qassam Brigades, said the rocket firing was a message to Israel that it would not accept "a formula of a one-sided aggression by the occupation on flimsy pretexts".

With Egyptian mediation, Hamas has made efforts in the past to clamp down on smaller militant groups that persist in mounting attacks on Israel, partly in order to avoid another devastating war. The Israeli offensive in the winter of 2009 killed more than 1,000 Palestinians.

But on Monday Abu Ubaida said Hamas had displayed a "high level of coordination" with Islamic Jihad in unleashing the latest rocket barrage.

"Should the enemy continue its aggression against the Gaza Strip the reaction by the resistance will be stronger and broader," he said.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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