Fate of Hamas military wing chief unclear, Four Israeli injured in shooting attack
Israeli helicopters fired missiles, around 14:00 local time (1300 GMT), at two cars traveling in Gaza City, killing at least three people, Palestinian sources said Thursday. Doctors said at least 25 people were injured in the strike, six of whom were in critical condition.
Israeli police sources and Israel TV said that Mohammad Deif, the Hamas military leader who headed Israel's most wanted list, was killed in the attack. But Hamas claimed he was alive. Deif has managed to elude capture and assassination by Israel on several occasions.
Israeli police officials said they had been informed by the military that Deif was killed and to prepare for revenge attacks. A senior Israel official, quoted by news agencies, confirmed that Deif was the target but said it was not known if he was killed.
Abdel Aziz al Rantisi, a prominent Hamas leader, said the movement would take revenge for Thursday's attack in Gaza. "We will hit Tel Aviv. We will hit everywhere," he conveyed.
Deif was injured but his life was not in danger, Hamas sources told Reuters. "We congratulate the Palestinian people and the Muslim nation on the survival of Mohammad Deif," a speaker for the movement said in Gaza Strip.
Deif was appointed the new commander of Ezz A Din al Qassam Brigades, following the killing of his predecessor, Salah Shehadeh, in a bombing strike by the Israeli air force in July.
Deif, 37, from Khan Yunis, was Shehadeh's deputy and he is also known as Abu Khaled. Hamas leader Abdul Aziz Rantissi announced Deif appointment to some 5,000 demonstrators in Jabalya refugee camp in July.
One of the dead men in Thursday strike was identified as Issa Abu Ajra, 29, and Abdel Rahim Hamdan, 27, both of them well-known Hamas activists in the Gaza Strip.
The rocket attack demolished one car and damaged a second in the Sheik Radwan neighborhood, a stronghold of Hamas, in Gaza City.
Hundreds of angry Palestinians flocked to the scene, pulled body parts from the charred wreckage of the cars and bore them aloft, shouting defiantly. Witnesses said one car took a direct hit, and the explosion set fire to a second vehicle.
Later in the day, an Israeli mother and her three children were wounded in a shooting attack near the West Bank city of Hebron, when Palestinians fired at an Israeli car traveling between east Hebron and the village of Yatta. (Albawaba.com)
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