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Israeli air strike kills Gaza militant - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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An Israeli soldier fires tear gas toward Palestinian stone-throwers during clashes in the West Bank village of Jayous near Qalqilya December 19, 2008 (REUTERS)

An Israeli soldier fires tear gas toward Palestinian stone-throwers during clashes in the West Bank village of Jayous near Qalqilya December 19, 2008 (REUTERS)

GAZA, (Reuters) – An Israeli air strike killed a Palestinian militant in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, a day after the end of a six-month-old ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas rulers of the enclave, the army and Palestinians said.

An Israeli military official said the air strike targeted a group of militants firing rockets towards Israel.

Palestinian medics said a militant was killed and another was wounded when a missile exploded in the northern town of Beit Lahiya. The attack came hours after two rockets fired from Gaza landed in Israel, causing no damage or injuries, the army said.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, said the militants belonged to its ranks. It identified the man killed in the air strike as Ali Hijazi, 25.

Shortly after the air strike, Hamas said its militants had fired six mortar shells at an Israeli army post near the southern Gaza Strip. The army confirmed the attack, which it said caused no damage or injuries.

Hamas declared the end of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with the Jewish state in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, raising the prospect of an escalation in cross-border fighting.

Armed Islamist factions in Gaza went on alert on Friday and warned Israel not to attack the coastal enclave.

Under the truce, brokered by Egypt in June, Palestinian militants would halt rocket fire in return for Israel gradually easing its blockade of the Gaza Strip to allow in more aid. But the ceasefire has been eroded almost daily since early November after a deadly Israeli army raid into Gaza prompted showers of largely ineffective rockets into Israel.

Egypt said on Friday it had not been asked to repair the truce.

A Palestinian protester dressed as Santa Claus throws candy to children, as Israeli soldiers stand guard behind razor-wire during a demonstration against the construction of Israel's separation barrier, West Bank, Dec 19, 2008 (AP)

A Palestinian protester dressed as Santa Claus throws candy to children, as Israeli soldiers stand guard behind razor-wire during a demonstration against the construction of Israel’s separation barrier, West Bank, Dec 19, 2008 (AP)

Relatives of a Palestinian member of al-Aqsa martyr brigades Ali Hijazi mourn during his funeral in the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip December 20, 2008 (REUTERS)

Relatives of a Palestinian member of al-Aqsa martyr brigades Ali Hijazi mourn during his funeral in the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip December 20, 2008 (REUTERS)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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