World & Nation

Israeli airstrike in Gaza targets militant

JERUSALEM -- Two Palestinians were wounded in an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip early Sunday.

Israeli military officials said the attack targeted Abdallah Kharti, a militant accused of launching rockets into southern Israel. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, said Kharti belongs to a Jihadist organization known as Popular Resistance Committees and had carried out numerous attacks against Israel.

The Israeli strike occurred while Kharti was traveling on a motorcycle on a busy street in Deir Balah in the central Gaza Strip, according to Ashraf Kedra, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza. Kharti was seriously wounded and is being treated at a hospital, Kedra said. Another motorist also injured in the attack is being treated for moderate wounds, Kedra said.

The strike is the latest in a string of cross-border attacks that have threatened a 2012 cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza.

Israeli military officials say 33 rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israeli territory this year. None of the rockets caused injuries or deaths.

Israel, which says many of the attacks have been carried out not by Hamas but by smaller militant groups,  has responded with a series of deadly airstrikes targeting alleged militants and training facilities.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Sunday that Israel will target Hamas directly if attacks from Gaza continue. “If the Hamas rule in Gaza won’t enforce its authority, we will exact a price from them too,” Yaalon said.


Special correspondent Rushdi abu Alouf in Gaza City contributed to this report.

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