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Israeli air strikes continue in Gaza City

Palestinians say 3 buildings targeted by helicopter


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A crowd gathers at the scene of Wednesday's air strikes.
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GAZA CITY (CNN) -- An Israeli helicopter fired missiles into three buildings Wednesday night in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, including a battery shop belonging to a suicide bomber's family, Palestinian security sources and witnesses said.

The building was owned by the family of a woman who blew herself up in January outside an Israeli military post near Erez, Israel, killing three Israeli soldiers and a civilian, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The plant also made explosives for the Palestinian militant group Hamas, the military statement said.

Hospital sources reported no injuries from the airstrikes, which the IDF said also targeted two Palestinian metal workshops.

They were hit after two soldiers and four settlers were wounded by Palestinian rocket attacks on two Jewish settlements Wednesday afternoon, Israeli military sources said.

In leaflets distributed in Gaza City, Hamas and another militant group, the Jenin Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Gush Katif and Ashderot settlements.

One of the shops hit Wednesday night contained welding machines used for producing the unguided Qassam rockets that Palestinian militants often fire on settlements, an Israeli military statement said.

Wednesday night's raids followed an early morning Israeli operation that targeted a home in the Shajaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City.

At least five people were killed and 16 were wounded in a strike on a house owned by Ahmed Jabari, a Hamas military commander, Palestinian security sources and hospital sources said.

The IDF claimed responsibility for the blast, saying an Israeli air force helicopter targeted senior Hamas leaders.

Palestinian security sources and hospital sources said Jabari was wounded in the attack but was treated at a hospital and released. Early reports said he died.

Hospital officials and Hamas said the five dead included Jabari's 19-year-old son, who was an active member of the Hamas military wing Izzedine al Qassam; Jabari's brother; Jabari's son-in-law; and a junior member of Hamas who was the son-in-law of slain Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi.

An Israeli Apache helicopter fired a missile that destroyed the home in a blast that could be heard throughout much of the city, Palestinian security sources said.

Shortly after the blast, militants and other people took to the streets and gathered at Shifa Hospital, where the wounded were taken.

Hamas is a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization and is labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. Izzedine al Qassam has admitted responsibility for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians as well as attacks against the Israeli military.

Israel has said it will not hesitate to go after Hamas leaders in an effort to combat terrorism.

In March, an Israeli airstrike killed Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin. Rantisi, Yassin's successor as head of Hamas, was killed a month later in another airstrike.


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