DEIR EL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) – Israeli aircraft fired three missiles at targets in the central Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing one Palestinian militant and critically wounding another, Palestinian health officials said.
The army said the airstrikes were aimed at a cell preparing to carry out an attack. It said two vehicles were targeted, and one was hit.
Pillars of smoke billowed from the destroyed vehicle as rescue workers removed burned and dismembered bodies.
Palestinian officials initially said both men were dead after they were taken to the morgue by an ambulance. But a doctor at the morgue found them to be alive and sent them to the operating room. The injuries included lost legs, severe chest wounds and head injuries.
Later, Dr. Baker Abu Safia confirmed that Wael Nassar, 23, of Islamic Jihad had died of his wounds.
Ahmad Abu Najam, 23, another Islamic Jihad militant remained in critical condition. Islamic Jihad vowed to take revenge for the Israeli missile strike. “God willing our reprisal is coming and it is going to be like air shaking,” said spokesman Abu Ahmad. “We are going to shake the air under their feet. They had experienced us in Tel Aviv and more is coming.”
Islamic Jihad, a small group with ties to Iran and Syria, claimed responsibility for last week’s suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed nine and wounded dozens. During more than five years of fighting, Israel has killed dozens of militants in targeted airstrikes. The attacks also have killed or wounded dozens of civilians.