An Israeli air strike killed the Palestinian leader of an al-Qaida-affiliated group in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Hamas and medical sources said.
The air force launched an air strike on Saturday night on members of a Palestinian jihadi organization that fired a rocket into southern Israel over the weekend – and which were planning terror attacks on Israel – the IDF said.
The interior ministry of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, said one of the men killed was Hisham Al-Saedni, also known as Abu Al-Waleed Al-Maqdissi, believed to head the Jihadist Salafi group Tawhid and Jihad (One God and Holy War).
An Israeli military spokesman could not confirm Saedni was the target of the air strike. A written military statement said the two men targeted were "terror operatives of the Shora Council of the Mujahideen, a Gaza-based Global Jihad affiliate." The same group had claimed responsibility for a rocket that was fired into Israel on Friday and landed near a house in the Israeli town of Netivot, causing damage but no casualties.An army source said the cell was involved in past terrorist attacks on Israel, and was in the last stages of preparing another attack.
Saturday’s attacks came after an escalation in Palestinian rocket fire on southern towns. The Israel Air Force struck a terrorist center in the northern part of the Gaza Strip overnight Wednesday, in response to continued rocket fire from the coastal territory. The IAF targeted a training camp belonging to Hamas’s Izzadin Kassam armed wing. No injuries were reported.
Gaza-based terrorists have fired more than 60 rockets at southern Israel this past week, most of which have fallen in open areas. The escalation in rocket attacks beganafter an Israeli air strike on Sunday in Gaza hit two Global Jihad terrorists.
The terrorists responded by firing over 50 rockets at Israel during the holiday of Simchat Torah alone, with more being fired in the days that followed.