Israeli fire kills at least five Palestinians as Fatah strongman quits
Israel launched an air strike during a ground raid into the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning and a Palestinian member of Hamas died, an Israeli military spokesman, medics and Hamas sources said. An Israeli military spokesman said an Israeli aircraft fired at a gunman spotted holding a rocket-propelled grenade while the soldiers were on a raid in southern Gaza Strip.
According to Reuters, Hamas sources said that its fighters had fired grenades at Israeli forces on the raid that took place near a key Gaza crossing. The troops fired back, killing one gunman from Hamas.
Witnesses said Israeli troops backed by tanks and bulldozers had launched the incursion.
Later, three Islamic Jihad fighters, including a senior leader in the military wing, were killed in another Israeli airstrike targeting a car south of Gaza City on Thursday afternoon. Witnesses said the men were travelling in a jeep when it was hit by a missile.
Islamic Jihad said three of its senior commanders were killed in the attack, including Omar al-Khatib, who had survived an Israeli strike on Tuesday. The other two Palestinians killed in the strike were named as Khalil Daifi and Ahmed Abdelal.
In other clashes across the Gaza Strip, five other Palestinians were hurt by Israeli fire, Palestinian officials said.
In one incident, Israeli aircraft fired a missile toward a car carrying Islamic Jihad gunmen, lightly injuring three, Islamic Jihad said, according to the AP. Later, Israeli troops targeted a pair of Palestinians with rocket launchers in northern Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said. Hamas said two Palestinians were wounded.
In the West Bank, Israeli forces struck and seriously wounded a Palestinian who tried to stab a soldier, the Israeli army said. The man's family said he later died of his wounds.
The army said a soldier near the Jewish settlement of Tekoa clubbed the man as he attacked troops with a knife. He was turned over to the Red Cross for treatment, the army said. The man's family said he was mentally ill.
Meanwhile, former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan resigned as Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas' national security adviser Thursday, a month and a half after his men were routed in the Gaza Strip by their rivals from Hamas.
In a statement sent to reporters, Dahlan cited health reasons, but Palestinian sources said he had been asked to step down by a government committee that concluded that he bore much of the responsibility for Fatah's humiliating defeat by Hamas in mid-June.
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