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Israeli strike kills 2 in central Gaza, 2 wounded

Oct. 14, 2012 5:02 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 16, 2012 2:00 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Two men were killed and two others seriously injured in an Israeli airstrike on central Gaza on Sunday afternoon, medics said.

Israeli warplanes launched a deadly strike on a tuk-tuk vehicle in Deir al-Balah, Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an.

He said the casualties were all evacuated to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah.

Medics identified the victims as 23-year-old Izz Addin Abu Nuseira, and 22-year-old Ahmad Abu Fatayir who succumbed to his injuries upon arrival at hospital.

Israel's army said it targeted a "terrorist squad" who had just fired a rocket from the central Gaza Strip at Israel, adding that a hit was confirmed.

The two victims brought Gaza's death toll from Israeli airstrikes to 5 within 24 hours.

Yasser al-Atakal, 24, was killed in an airstrike on Sunday morning as he rode his motorbike east of Khan Younis, and another person was seriously wounded. An Israeli military spokesman said the men had been preparing to fire rockets into Israel.

On Saturday evening, Israel killed two top Salafi militants in a similar attack in the northern town of Jabalia.

The victims were identified as Hisham Al-Saedni and Ashraf al-Sabah, while a 10-year-old boy who was passing by the area was also wounded, a Ma'an correspondent said.

On Sunday, Gaza's Ministry of Health slammed what it described as excessive violence against unarmed Palestinian civilians which deliberately targeted densely-populated areas with lethal weapons, a statement said.

Funerals

Hundreds of supporters gathered near al-Saedni's home in al-Bureij camp on Sunday to mourn the Salafi leader, who was also known as Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi.

"The martyrdom of Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi will not end Jihad against the Jews, but rather open the door to more painful attacks," Salafi leader Abu Huthayfa said during the funeral.

"We have been fighting the Jews and the occupation before the assassination of Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi, and after he was assassinated we will fight more viciously."

Al-Saedni kept a low profile since his release from Gaza jail in September 2011. "The last period of the martyr’s life was very secret and I haven’t seen him for months even though I am his cousin and married to his sister," al-Saedni’s brother-in-law Abu Muhammad told Ma'an.

The Tawhid and Jihad group headed by al-Saedni recently started to claim responsibility for militant attacks on Israel, leading al-Saedni to act cautiously and live separately from his children, Abu Muhammad said.

The funerals were a rare public display of Salafism in Gaza, which has provoked periodic crackdowns from the Hamas government.

In 2009, Hamas raided a mosque and killed 28 people after a Salafi imam declared an Islamic emirate in Gaza.
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