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Militant killed in Israeli airstrike

By the CNN Wire Staff
Khan Yunis, in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, has been the site of several Israelis airstrikes in recent months.
Khan Yunis, in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, has been the site of several Israelis airstrikes in recent months.
  • NEW: Attack disrupted planning for "massive" attack, Israel Defense Forces says
  • The slain man was a member of Islamic Jihad
  • Palestinians urge the world to hold Israel accountable for "international law violations"
  • Clinton and Ban Ki-moon question Israeli demolition of hotel

(CNN) -- A 25-year-old militant riding a motorcycle was killed Tuesday afternoon by an Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, Palestinian security sources said.

The sources say the man was a member of Islamic Jihad. One other man was injured in the strike, the sources said.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed a "direct hit" and identified the man as Mohammed Najar, an Islamic Jihad member "involved in planning a massive terror attack in the heart of Israel."

"This operation disrupts the execution of an attack by Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization that has been involved in the firing of rockets towards Israeli territory and IDF forces in the past few days," the IDF said. More than "20 Qassam rockets and mortar shells" fired from Gaza have landed in Israeli territory since the beginning of the year, the IDF said.

The incident comes amid a spurt of tension along the Israeli borders with Gaza in the West Bank, stalling efforts to continue Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

One of the issues holding back talks has been settlement activity in the West Bank and building activity in Jerusalem, Israel's capital. Tension has been stoked after the demolition of a hotel in the city.

Internationally, Jerusalem is not recognized as Israel's capital and Palestinians envision East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian nation.

The Palestinian Cabinet on Tuesday urged the "international community to act in holding Israel accountable for its international law violations by its breach of Palestinian rights, primarily in view of its escalated colonization in East Jerusalem, reflected in the demolition of Shepherd Hotel."

The Shepherd Hotel, built in the 1930s by a prominent Palestinian family, was bought from the state of Israel in 1985 by American millionaire Irving Moskowitz, an avid supporter of Jewish building in East Jerusalem.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that the demolition of the hotel was a private property matter, and the state of Israel was not involved in the decision.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the move "contradicts the logic of a reasonable and necessary agreement between the parties on the status of Jerusalem" and a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the demolition "only serves to heighten tensions."