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Eilat bomb mastermind killed in Gaza strike: Israel | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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GAZA CITY, (AFP) — Two Gaza militants were killed in an Israeli strike on Thursday, Palestinian medics said, with Israel saying one of them had planned a deadly bombing in Eilat in 2007.

The two men had also been planning another attack on southern Israel by infiltrating from the Sinai peninsula, the Israeli military said in a statement issued shortly after it targeted a car in Gaza City, killing the two men and injuring four others, medics said.

The military said it had targeted Issam al-Batsh, a senior member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed off-shoot of the Fatah movement, “as well as an additional terrorist.”

“These terrorists were both affiliated with a terrorist squad that intended to execute a terrorist attack against Israeli civilians and Israeli Defence Forces soldiers via the western border,” the statement said.

Earlier this week, Israeli security sources said troops were on very high alert along the Egyptian border over fears a cell of gunmen had crossed into southern Israel.

In Gaza, officials confirmed Batsh was killed in the attack, along with a second man, Sobhi al-Batsh, a member of Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

Israel said Issam al-Batsh had been involved in “numerous” attacks in which Gaza militants had infiltrated Israel through the Sinai.

“One such attack was the suicide bombing in Eilat (January 2007), in which three Israeli civilians were killed. In recent years, a number of Batsh’s attempted attacks were thwarted,” it said.

Troops along the Egyptian border have been on high alert since the weekend, fearing another attack along the lines of the one in August, when gunmen infiltrated from Sinai and shot dead eight Israelis and injured more than 25.

Thursday’s air strike came a day after Israeli warplanes hit targets east of Gaza City, killing one militant and injuring another two, with the military saying they were planning to fire rockets across the border.

Israel frequently targets militants it says are about to fire rockets over the border, or attacks Gaza in response to such rocket fire, but it also carries out targeted attacks against specific militants.

On September 7, an Israeli air strike against a car travelling near Deir al-Balah in central Gaza killed a member of the Quds Bridge, Islamic Jihad’s military wing.