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Last Updated: Monday, 20 September, 2004, 19:46 GMT 20:46 UK
Gaza City blast kills militants
Wreckage of car
The dead were said to be mid-ranking Hamas members
Two Hamas militants have been killed and eight other people injured in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City.

Israeli aircraft fired missiles which blew apart a jeep carrying the men soon after sunset on Monday.

The Israeli military said the militants were on their way to launch rockets at targets inside Israel.

The attack was the second in 24 hours. On Sunday an Israeli helicopter fired a missile at a car in the city killing a leading Hamas member.

Israel regularly targets Palestinian militants in Gaza, as well as metal workshops it suspects are used to produce weapons.

Israeli human rights group B'tselem estimates that more than 150 militants have been assassinated by Israel since September 2000. More than 100 bystanders have also been killed in Israel's attacks.

'Flash from the sky'

The vehicle was hit in the southern Tel al-Hawa neighbourhood.

The dead were identified as 34-year-olds Nabil al-Saidi and Rabah Zakout.

Palestinian officials said they were mid-ranking operatives of the Islamic militant group Hamas from the southern Gaza Strip.

Hospital officials said eight people were wounded by the blast, two of them children.

Witnesses described seeing two badly burned bodies pulled from the wreck.

Farmer Issam Abdel Khalim, who was walking his donkey nearby, said he saw a flash from the sky.

"My donkey jumped and hit the wall, and I saw the vehicle on fire," he told the Associated Press news agency.

Sunday's attack killed Khaled Abu Shamiyeh, 30, described by Israel as a key figure in the production of rockets fired by militants at the Israeli town of Sderot.

Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri vowed revenge for the killing and said the organisation would teach Israel "a painful lesson".




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