Fifteen Palestinians including leaders in the Al-Quds Brigades were killed and at least 20 people were wounded in a series of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip throughout midnight.
Fifteen Palestinians including leaders in the Al-Quds Brigades were killed and at least 20 people were wounded in a series of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip in the deadliest 24 hours in the border area in more than three years.
A Palestinian riding a motorcycle was killed and two others were wounded in an Israeli air raid close to the southern town of Rafah near the border with Egypt on Saturday afternoon, Palestinian medics said.
Two men also on a motorbike were killed earlier the same day in another raid on the town of Khan Yunis, medics said. After that report the Israeli military said an aircraft had attacked "a terrorist squad" planning to fire rockets.
The Israeli military said the air force launched several attacks on a range of targets, including a militant leader, claiming that the attacks came in response to Palestinian rocket fire on the southern area of the occupied territories.
In contrast, "the Palestinians fired dozens of rockets and mortar rounds into southern Israel, injuring four people, one of them seriously," Israeli military sources said.
Among the Palestinian martyrs were head of the Popular Resistance Committees, Zohair Al-Qaisi, and freed prisoner Mahmoud Hanani.
The PRC threatened reprisals for Al-Qaisi's death, and around 45 rockets and shells were subsequently fired on the southern occupied Palestinian territories.
For its part, the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, said that the Israeli air strikes also killed 10 of its members.
In a statement it issued, the Israeli army said that “Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 10 Grad rockets fired at the southern Israeli towns of Beersheva, Ashdod and Ashkelon, which have a combined population of more than half a million people.”