Israeli airstrikes kill 11, Palestinian sources say

Story highlights

  • Death toll rises to 11
  • Hamas military leader who was deported to Gaza was reportedly one of the men killed
  • Another strike victim was identified as a leader in a Gaza-based militant group
  • Israeli military spokesman confirms Israeli air force activity in Gaza City
Eleven Palestinians were killed and at least four critically injured Friday and early Saturday after a series of Israeli airstrikes targeted suspected militants across Gaza, according to Palestinian medical officials.
In what appeared to be the initial attack, an Israeli airstrike killed two men traveling in a police vehicle in Gaza City, the officials said.
One of the men was identified as Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Hanini, a Hamas military leader originally from the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Al-Hanini was deported to Gaza about five years ago after being freed from an Israeli prison.
The other man was identified as Zuhair Al-Qaisy, according to the medical officials. Al-Qaisy was considered a leader in the Popular Resistance Committees, a Gaza-based militant group that said it recently launched 10 rockets toward Israel and fired mortars from inside Gaza.
A second Israeli attack struck an apparent rocket-launching site in Gaza later Friday, killing three other Palestinians.
And a third airstrike hit a house in Beit Lahia, killing two Palestinians and wounding others, medical and Palestinian officials said early Saturday.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CNN that more than 20 rockets launched from Gaza landed across southern Israel, critically injuring one Israeli and wounding another.
Israel Defense Forces have been put on high alert, he said, as Israeli aircraft patrol the region and target suspected militants.
An Israel Defense Forces spokesman confirmed the first two airstrikes.
The men were "part of the terror infrastructure used to execute attacks via the Sinai Peninsula, and the Israel-Egypt border, while violating Egyptian sovereignty," an IDF statement said.
The IDF blamed Al-Qaisy for helping to orchestrate an August attack that left 40 people injured, coordinating rocket attacks against Israel and transferring funds from Hezbollah to militant groups in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli air force aircraft also "thwarted two terrorist squads from firing rockets at Israel from the northern and the central Gaza Strip," according to a separate IDF statement.
Three other Palestinians were killed during airstrikes near a Parliament building in Gaza City, Palestinian medical sources said Friday. In a separate attack, a Palestinian man was killed near a school east of Gaza City in a residential neighborhood.
Another airstrike on a Popular Resistance Committee building occurred in the southern Palestinian city of Rafah. No injuries were reported in that attack.