Munir Abu Sukker, 30, a senior Islamic Jihad commander involved in Kassam rocket attacks and recent attempts to smuggle suicide bombers from Gaza into Israel, was killed along with three others in an IAF strike on a car in Gaza City, Monday afternoon.
Iyad Abu Shalouf, an Islamic Jihad member who rode in the car with Sukker, was killed, as well as two Palestinian bystanders, who were later identified as Ahmed Sousi,17 and Ra'ed al Batch, 8. A third bystander, who was not identified, was also killed.
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Seven Palestinians were wounded in the blast that occurred in the Sajaya neighborhood of Gaza City.
The dead and wounded were taken to the Shifa Hospital, where an angry mob gathered outside.
In a statement in response to the air strike, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz warned, "Israel will lay its hands on all those who attempt to harm Israeli citizens." Mofaz instructed the security establishment to act against the entire chain of those involved in Kassam rocket attacks against Israel, including those who manufacture the rockets, and those who plan and launch the attacks.
Vowing to retaliate, the Islamic Jihad said it would step up its attacks on Israel. Abu Hamza, an Islamic Jihad spokesman declared that the movement viewed any Israeli target as a legitimate one and warned "our suicide attacks will shake the heart of Israel," and that the "entire city of Ashkelon will be the target of our rockets."
Earlier in the day, three Kassam rockets were fired at Israel, two exploded in open areas near Kibbutz Nativ Ha'asara and a third on the Palestinian side of the Erez terminal crossing, no one was wounded and no damage reported. In recent months the Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for almost all of the Kassam rocket attacks at Israel.
Earlier, Alam Abu Saoud, 14, and Nidal Abu Masoud,15 were killed when a bomb they were handling exploded prematurely in the El Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. The IDF denied any involvement in the incident calling it an apparent work accident. According to unconfirmed reports, one of the boys' fathers had prepared the bomb in preparation for an attack.
According to the army, Sukker was involved in intensive efforts to smuggle suicide bombers wearing explosive belts from Gaza into Israel via the Sinai. One such attempt was thwarted by security forces last year when they caught a bomber who was to have blown up in Jerusalem.
Sukker was also involved in Kassam rocket attacks at Israel, and plotted bomb attacks against soldiers deployed along the Gaza security fence.
In addition, he was also active in smuggling weapons and operatives to launch attacks against Israel, the army said.