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Israel: Airstrike prevents planned attack

March 9, 2012 at 7:34 PM

JERUSALEM, March 9 (UPI) -- Israel sustained a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza Friday after an airstrike prevented a terrorist attack by killing the man who planned it, officials said.

More than 40 rockets were fired into southern Israel from Gaza in retaliation for the airstrike, Haaretz reported. Eight people were wounded by the rockets, while Israel's Iron Dome system intercepted at least six rockets, the military said.

In addition to the would-be attacker, another man was killed and a third was injured in the earlier Israeli airstrike, which hit a car in Gaza, officials said.

The Israeli military said the attack plotter was Zuhir al-Qaisi, who was also known as Abu Ibraim, secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees, Ynetnews.com reported.

Qaisi was planning an attack that would have been aimed at Israeli communities near the Egyptian border, officials said.

The military said he was the political head of the PRC and carried out a terrorist attack on the border last year that killed eight Israelis and an attack on a fuel terminal, and was also involved in rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.

Palestinian sources told Ynetnews another senior PRC leader, Ahmad al-Khanini, was also killed. He was freed from a prison in Israel last in the exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been captured by militants and held for five years.

Israeli officials say Khanini's cell planned a suicide attack in 2006 that was prevented.

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