GAZA CITY (AFP) – Another Palestinian militant has died of wounds inflicted by an Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip this week during a series of operations that killed more than a dozen people, medics said Friday.
The death of Shadi Abu Suraya, 30, a local commander in the Army of Islam, brings to 13 the number of Palestinians killed in one of the bloodiest days in the impoverished coastal strip had seen in weeks.
Six militants from the radical group — which claims links to Al-Qaeda — were killed when an Israeli aircraft targeted their truck as it drove through the heart of Gaza City on Wednesday.
Another six Palestinians, including two civilians, were killed in separate operations in and around the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanun during the same 24-hour period.
The Army of Islam was one of three Palestinian groups which claimed responsibility for capturing the Israeli conscript Gilad Shalit in a brazen and deadly cross-border raid in June 2006. He is still missing.
It also kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston in March and held him captive for 16 weeks.
Wednesday’s raids, which Israeli officials said were aimed at stemming the near-daily rocket fire from the Gaza, were harshly condemned by both Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and his Hamas rivals.
The Islamist movement, which seized control of Gaza in June after a week of bloody street battles, has threatened to avenge the deaths with suicide operations.
On September 19 Israel — which along with the West considers Hamas a terrorist organisation — called the Hamas-run territory a “hostile entity,” leading many to speculate about a possible full-scale assault on the strip.
Israel has for months been launching limited incursions to try to halt the firing of home-made rockets on Israeli towns near the border. The rockets rarely wound anyone, but leave residents in a constant state of fear.