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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 December, 2003, 00:06 GMT
Israeli Gaza raid targets Hamas
Car destroyed in Gaza strike
It was the first helicopter attacks against Hamas since October
Eleven people have been injured in an Israeli helicopter missile attack on a car in Gaza City.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas confirmed two of its members were in the vehicle, but escaped unharmed.

Those injured were bystanders - one is reported to be in a critical condition, Palestinian medical sources say.

Israel said the helicopter strike - the first in two months - had targeted "senior Hamas terrorists" who were planning attacks.

Defiant

The attack happened in Gaza City's Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood late on Tuesday.

Witnesses said one Israeli missile struck after the car stopped, apparently to drop off a passenger.

A second missile struck the ground as the vehicle moved away, wounding passers-by, they added.

A Palestinian security official said Jamal Jarah, a leader of Izz al-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, was injured in the attack. Another passenger in the car was unhurt.

Hamas - which has carried out dozens of suicide bombings in Israel since the start of a Palestinian uprising in 2000 - immediately vowed to continue what it called its campaign of resistance.

The Israelis had not carried out helicopter attacks against Hamas militants since October - when members of the group's military wing, Izz al-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, were killed in Gaza City.

Last Thursday, Israeli missiles killed the commander of the armed wing of another militant Palestinian group, Islamic Jihad, and his top deputy and three civilians.




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