Israel Air Force aircraft struck seven Hamas security installations in Gaza early Friday morning, killing at least one Palestinian, in further retaliation for the three-stage terror attack on Thursday.

Gaza residents said three compounds controlled by Hamas were hit in the overnight raids. Medical officials said a 13-year-old boy in a nearby building was killed and 17 people were wounded.

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On Thursday evening the IAF bombed the southern Gaza Strip, killing the leadership of the Popular Resistance Committees who had orchestrated the attacks.

Eight Israelis, including a soldier from the Golani Brigade, were killed earlier in the day in the multi-stage attack in the South carried out by PRC members who infiltrated from Egypt.

The PRC members killed in the retaliatory IAF air strike included the head of the terror group Kamal Nirab, who the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said had personally directed and planned the attack.

Another man killed in the strike was identified as Amas Hamed, commander of the PRC’s military wing and a resident of Rafah. The Shin Bet said that Hamed was involved in the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit in June 2006 and oversaw numerous attacks against Israel including suicide bombings and rocket attacks.

Two other known PRC terrorists, including one who was also involved in Schalit’s abduction, were also killed in the air strike.

“The terrorists were directly involved in the attacks along the Israeli-Egyptian border,” a security official said.

In response to Thursday’s attacks, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, “We all witnessed today an attempt to escalate the terrorist war against Israel by launching of attacks from the Sinai. If there is someone who thinks that the State of Israel will let this pass, he is mistaken.”

He continued: “I have set out a principle – when the citizens of Israel are attacked, we respond immediately and with strength. That principle was implemented today.

Those who gave the order to murder our citizens, while hiding in Gaza, are no longer among the living.”

Netanyahu commended the IDF and security services for their swift retaliation against the senior terrorist officials in Gaza, thereby preventing an even greater tragedy.

“If the terrorist organizations believe that they can attack our citizens and get away with it, they will soon learn how wrong they are. We will exact a price, a very heavy price,” he said.

Netanyahu was expected to convene a meeting of the septet late Thursday night.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the IDF would escalate its response to the attacks. Egypt had lost its grip over Sinai Peninsula and terrorist organizations were able to move around there freely, he said.

“The IDF has already struck the heads of the PRC in Gaza and if there will be a need, the strikes will intensify,” Barak said. “The IDF will use all of the force necessary to protect Israel’s citizens and to enable a normal way of life in the country.”

On Thursday night, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit south of Ashkelon. Defense officials ordered security officers in communities along the border with Gaza to prepare for an escalation in rocket fire. The Iron Dome counter- rocket system later intercepted a Grad-model Katyusha rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at Ashkelon.

PRC spokesman Abu Mujahed said in a statement that Israel would be held responsible for “all the consequences of its crimes,” according to the Ma'an news agency.

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