Israeli Warplanes Kill 5 Palestinain Militants in Gaza

Posted October 14th, 2012 at 2:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Israeli warplanes carried out several raids on Palestinians suspected of firing rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel, killing five militants, including the head of a Salafist group linked to al-Qaida.

Gaza medics said the first Israeli air strike killed Salafist commander Hisham Saidani, who was in his 40s, and a fellow militant as the two rode a motorcycle late Saturday in northern Gaza.

They said a second Israeli attack killed a Palestinian militant and wounded another on a motorcycle in southern Gaza early Sunday, while a third air strike killed two militants in central Gaza later in the day. Several other people were wounded in the raids.

The Israeli military said it struck Palestinian militants who either had just fired rockets at Israel or planned to do so imminently. Several rockets landed inside Israeli territory Sunday without causing casualties.

Speaking to the Israeli Cabinet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the “global jihad” movement is intensifying its efforts to target Israelis. He said his nation will be “aggressive” in responding to and pre-empting such attacks.

Gaza residents said Saidani led a Salafist group called Tawhid wa-Jihad, or “One God and Holy War.” The Israeli military said he had been involved in previous attacks on Israel and was planning another operation along the Israeli border with Egypt's Sinai peninsula. Supporters of Saidani vowed revenge.

Ultraconservative Salafists have only a small presence in Gaza, which is run by the Hamas militant group that adheres to the more popular conservative Islam of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.