air strike gaza on Islam.
(photo credit: AP)
An IAF helicopter fired missiles at two vehicles in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least one Palestinian and seriously wounding another.
The IDF said the vehicles were filled with Kassam rockets and that one of them was even used as a mobile Kassam launcher. The cell, the army said, was on its way to fire the rockets at Israeli targets.
The helicopter targeted a large van in Dir el-Balah in Gaza Thursday morning, and then fired another missile at a vehicle near the evacuated former settlement of Netzarim. Two Islamic Jihad terrorists were seriously wounded and one died later in a local hospital.
The car targeted by the helicopter caused an enormous explosion when it was hit. Pillars of black and white smoke billowed from the destroyed vehicle as rescue workers removed burned and dismembered bodies.
The IDF confirmed that the targets were Islamic Jihad operatives who were on their way to fire Kassam rockets at Israel. According to IDF sources, the same squad had fired Kassams at Ashkelon and other Israeli targets in the past.
The Islamic Jihad men were identified as Wael Nassar, 27, and Ahmad Abu Najam, 23, senior field operatives in the terror group's military wing. They were both initially pronounced dead by Palestinian Health Ministry officials, but doctors at a Gaza hospital found them to still be alive upon arrival. One of the men sustained chest wounds and lost both of his legs, while the other lost a leg and part of his head.
Three people were also reported wounded, while Islamic Jihad called for revenge. "God willing, reprisal is coming and it is going to be like air shaking," said spokesman Abu Ahmad. "We are going to shake the air under their feet. They had experienced us in Tel Aviv and more is coming." Islamic Jihad is responsible for almost all Kassam rocket attacks on Israel, and has recently raised its capabilities by acquiring and firing Grad-type Katyusha rockets, which have a longer range and carry more explosives, at Israel.
The IDF operation against the Kassam rocket fire in the Gaza Strip was recently escalated and includes missile strikes from IAF aircraft as well as barrages from artillery and Navy warships.
Meanwhile Thursday, the Karni crossing into the Gaza Strip remained closed following Wednesday's attempt by Palestinian terrorists to sneak a car bomb into the terminal. The attack was thwarted by Palestinian security services.