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Islamic Jihad chief killed in explosion

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – A senior commander of Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian group waging hostilities against Israel, was killed Friday along with his wife, two of their children and three young militants in an explosion that flattened the family’s home in the Gaza Strip, officials said.

The 8:45 p.m. explosion damaged seven nearby homes in the Bureij refugee camp and wounded at least 30 people, 10 of them seriously, according to Moawiya Hassanain, a health ministry official in Gaza.

Islamic Jihad accused Israel of striking the senior commander’s three-story house in the refugee camp with a surface-to-surface missile and vowed revenge.

The Israeli military denied it attacked the camp, which lies just south of Gaza City about 500 yards from the Israeli border.

Witnesses reported seeing fragments of what looked like locally produced rockets in the wreckage, suggesting the possibility of an accidental explosion of weapons stored in the home. Islamic Jihad fires rockets at towns and farms in Israel almost daily.

A Hamas militant with a walkie-talkie appeared on Palestinian television in Gaza at the scene of the blast, warning people to leave. He said there might be four to five unexploded rockets in the area.

Ayman Fayed, 42, a commander better known as “Abu Abdallah,” was killed, along with his wife, 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, the health ministry official said.

The other dead were identified as Islamic Jihad fighters.


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