Airstrikes in Gaza after mortars fired

Aug. 24, 2011 at 7:23 AM
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GAZA, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- An Islamic Jihad commander was killed and two Palestinians injured in separate Israeli airstrikes in Gaza Wednesday, the army said.

The Egyptian news agency MENA reported an Egyptian woman was injured when a rocket fired by Palestinians in Gaza exploded on the Egyptian side of Rafah. The Chinese news agency Xinhua said the woman was slightly injured and treated at a local hospital.

The Israeli air force early Wednesday hit two sites in northern Gaza where terrorists were attempting to fire rockets at Israel, the army said. Israel Radio said two Palestinians were injured in the airstrikes.

Earlier, Palestinians in Gaza fired two mortar shells at southern Israel that exploded in open areas in the western Negev, causing some damage but no injuries, the army said.

Ismail al-Asmar, an Islamic Jihad commander, was killed in a pre-dawn airstrike in which his car to exploded, the army said.

The army said al-Asmar was involved in arming the Islamic Jihad with rockets and missiles as well as weapons smuggling and terror activities in the Sinai, including last week's terror attack near Eilat in which eight Israelis were killed.

A statement issued by the Islamic Jihad threatened retaliation. An unnamed spokesman of the group told Israel Radio the Islamic Jihad's response would be a painful one.

Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups in Gaza Monday agreed to uphold an Egyptian mediated cease-fire with Israel. Israel said it had no direct or indirect talks with Hamas on the issue but agreed to show restraint while maintaining the right to respond if rocket attacks on southern Israel continued.

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