Israeli weekend strikes kill five in Gaza

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Palestinians carry the body of 23-year-old Yasser al-Atal during his funeral in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on 14 October 2012. (Photo: AFP - Said Khatib)

Published Monday, October 15, 2012

Five men were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza over the weekend in three separate attacks that also saw about a dozen injured, including a 12-year-old boy.

The most recent strike Sunday afternoon in the central Gaza city of Deir al-Balah killed two men, 23-year-old Izz Addin Abu Nuseira, and 22-year-old Ahmad Abu Fatayir, and left two others seriously wounded, according to Palestinian medics.

Israel's army said it targeted a "terrorist squad" who had just fired a rocket at Israel from the central Gaza Strip, adding that a hit was confirmed.

Earlier on Sunday, 23-year-old Yasser al-Atal, a member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was killed by an airstrike in the southern city of Khan Younis while on his motorbike. Israel claimed he was preparing to launch rockets into Israel.

And on Saturday, 43-year-old Hisham al-Saedini and 42-year-old Fayek Abu Jazar were also hit by Israel as they rode a motorbike in the northern town of Jabaliya.

Al-Saedini was a founding member of the Mujahedeen Shura Council, a Salafi group blamed for the recent spate of rockets launched into Israel. Abu Jazar was apparently also a member of the group.

On Sunday, Gaza's Ministry of Health slammed what it described as excessive violence against unarmed Palestinian civilians which deliberately targeted densely-populated areas with lethal weapons, a statement said.

Violence has flared in Gaza over the past week after Israeli airstrikes on southern Gaza left two dead and several others wounded, including five children.

Palestinian groups quickly retaliated by launching a barrage of rockets into Israel.

Hundreds of supporters gathered near al-Saedni's home in al-Bureij camp on Sunday to mourn the Salafi leader, who was also known as Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi.

Al-Saedni kept a low profile since his release from a Gaza jail in September 2011.

"The last period of the martyr’s life was very secret and I haven’t seen him for months even though I am his cousin and married to his sister," al-Saedni’s brother-in-law Abu Muhammad told Ma'an news agency.

Meanwhile on Sunday a Gaza TV channel reported that the Emir of Qatar is set to visit the coastal enclave in the coming few days, the first visit by an Arab leader since Hamas took power.

Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and his wife Sheikha Mozah are slated to come to Gaza following the arrival of Qatari delegates on Sunday, al-Kitab satellite channel said.

Qatar has pledged half a billion dollars in assistance to the Gaza Strip over the coming three years to rebuild infrastructure destroyed in Israeli attacks.

(Al-Akhbar, Ma'an)

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