Hamas leader killed in Israeli airstrike

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 31, 2010 15:30 hrs

A leading member of Hamas was killed and eight others were injured in Israeli airstrikes on three targets in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources confirmed Saturday.

The airstrikes took place late Friday.

Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, announced that one of its leaders, Issa Abdul-Hadi Al-Batran, 40, died in the strike at the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

Medical sources said that eight Palestinians had been injured in the strike, aimed at a training compound of Hamas security forces.

Hamas security sources said that the Israeli jet carried out two other strikes on the eastern and southern Gaza Strip. It has been the most lethal strike from Israeli forces in months.

They said the planes targeted an empty area in eastern Gaza Strip and smuggling tunnels dug under the border area between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

In a second incident, the Israeli army opened fire Saturday against three Palestinians in the southern border crossing of Erez. According to Palestinian reports they were looking for metal scraps near the fence which separates Gaza from Egypt and three were injured.

The Israeli army said the airstrikes came in response to a Russian-made Grad rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at the southern coastal Israeli town of Ashkelon. That cause minor damage but no injuries.

The Israeli army also said that the targets were 'terror infrastructure' in Gaza.

The armed wing of the radical Hamas movement vowed Saturday to revenge the death of one of its militants in an overnight Israeli air raid on the Gaza Strip.

'This new stupidity won't easily pass. We promise revenge for the blood of our martyr,' the al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement faxed to reporters.

The pro-Hamas Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was a response to a decision by the Arab League peace committee to resume direct talks with Israel.

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