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Palestinians: 15 killed in airstrike

Israel says target was a terrorist training camp


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GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Israeli helicopters fired four rockets at a camp in Gaza City where they believed Palestinian militants were training, killing at least 15 people, Palestinian medical sources told CNN.

The city's main hospital said at least 20 were wounded, while medical sources said the number could be as high as 50.

The Israel Defense Forces said the training at the camp was led by senior Hamas terrorists who have been involved in carrying out deadly attacks and attempted attacks against Israelis.

A source from Hamas said 10 of its members were killed in the attack.

The military wing of Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization, has a history of carrying out attacks against Israeli civilians and military. It is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the U.S. State Department.

The IDF said some members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, also may have been training at the camp. The Brigades is designated a terrorist organization by the United States.

In explaining its reasons for bombing the alleged training field, the IDF said in a statement:

"Two weeks ago, a unique and powerful explosive device was assembled at the field. The explosive device was to be activated against an Israeli target. Due to what seems to be a technical difficulty, the explosive device exploded at the training field, killing a well-known Hamas terrorist and wounding others."

On August 31, in the southern Israeli town of Beer Sheva, two suicide bombers set off almost simultaneous blasts on buses, killing 16 people in addition to themselves. Hamas fighters said afterward that a Hebron cell of the group had carried out the bombings. (Full story)

A few days later, three Palestinian men and a boy were killed and 44 others wounded during an incursion by 12 Israeli armored vehicles into the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah, Palestinian sources told CNN. (Full story)

The Israel Defense Forces said it was conducting a security operation and had discovered a tunnel, often used for smuggling weapons, under a residential building.

CNN producer Talal Aburahman contributed to this report.


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