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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006, 08:30 GMT
Two killed as Israel strikes car
Palestinian onlookers gather around the car following the air strike in Jabaliya
Israel regularly strikes suspected militants in Gaza
At least two people have been killed when Israeli forces launched a missile strike on a car travelling in the northern Gaza Strip.

Another occupant of the car is reported to be seriously wounded.

Israel said the strike was aimed at a senior member of the Islamic Jihad militant group - which has vowed to avenge the attack.

Earlier on Monday, Israeli forces fired a missile at a building in Gaza used by the governing Palestinian party, Fatah.

The car was travelling down a street on the edge of the town of Jabaliya when it was hit by the explosion.

It was said to be close to a border area Israel has declared off-limits to Palestinians to try to prevent rocket fire at Israel.

Emergency workers told the BBC the occupants were dressed in military fatigues and there was evidence they belonged to the Islamic Jihad militant group.

"The terrorist had been involved in numerous projectile rocket attacks against Israel in the past few weeks," said the Israeli military, according to Reuters news agency.

The dead men have been identified as a local commander of the Islamic Jihad organisation, and his lieutenant.

Militants in Gaza frequently fire home-made missiles into neighbouring southern Israel, often aiming at towns and villages, says the BBC's Alan Johnston in Gaza.

They say they are retaliating for what they call acts of Israeli aggression, either in Gaza or the occupied West Bank.

The Israelis pour huge amounts of effort into trying to suppress the rocket fire and every day Israeli artillery shells go thudding into the open areas of northern Gaza from which the missile attacks often come, our correspondent says.

Khaled al-Batsh, senior Islamic Jihad political leader, told Reuters the attack would be revenged.

"The crime will not pass and the occupation should be prepared for reactions from the Islamic Jihad armed wing," he said.

Early on Monday, Israel said it targeted a building in Khan Yunis used by the Fatah-linked militants, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. There were no reports of casualties.

The strike followed the killing by Israeli forces of two Palestinians in Gaza on Sunday.

Israel said the men were preparing to fire missiles across the border. One of those killed was said to have belonged to al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.




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