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Israeli Drone Strike Kills Militants in Southern Gaza

FARES AKRAM and ISABEL KERSHNER The New York Times 10/31/2011 01:40
Israeli Drone Strike Kills Militants in Southern Gaza - security - Israel - Middle East

Israeli airstrikes killed seven Palestinian members of Islamic Jihad’s armed wing in southern Gaza on Saturday, according to the militant group, and Gaza militants fired salvos of rockets at cities in southern Israel, killing one Israeli man and wounding at least two others in a sudden escalation of cross-border violence.

The Israeli military said that it had first hit a terrorist squad that was preparing to fire long-range rockets into Israel early Saturday, and that the same squad had been responsible for firing a rocket that struck late Wednesday near the Israeli port city of Ashdod.

Witnesses to the first raid said that an Israeli drone fired two missiles at a training site situated on sandy dunes in a former Jewish settlement near the city of Rafah, killing five. Islamic Jihad pledged that it would respond forcefully to the Israeli drone strike. Hours later, several rockets fired from Gaza slammed into the southern Israeli cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, damaging buildings and setting fire to parked cars.

The Israeli death was in Ashkelon, about 10 miles north of Gaza on the coast, according to the Israeli police and hospital officials.