Hamas fighter killed by Israeli air strike in Gaza
A fighter from the Palestinian group Hamas was killed Thursday by an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip, the health ministry in the enclave said.
Mohammed Hijaila was killed and another man seriously wounded early Thursday during the air strike, the health ministry in the Hamas-controlled enclave said, confirming he was a member of the movement's militant wing.
A security source told AFP he was one of a number of Hamas fighters manning an observation point east of Gaza City when it was struck early on Thursday.
Israel said the strike was launched in response to a bomb attack on a military vehicle on the Gaza frontier on Wednesday, in which there were no casualties. When gunmen shot at the aircraft, they were fired upon, the Israeli military said.
"In response to the explosive device that was detonated against an engineering vehicle of the (army) yesterday, Israeli fighter jets struck military targets in the Gaza Strip," the Israeli army said in a statement.
"After the strike, a terror cell fired with machine guns at an (Israeli) aircraft, without actually harming it. (Israeli) aircraft intercepted the terror cell."
The machine gun fire also set off sirens in southern Israel, the army said.
It alleged the bomb was planted at the frontier under cover of mass Gaza protests in the area. No one was injured in the blast.
Both sides are bracing for Palestinian demonstrations at the Gaza border on Friday - the third round of weekly protests that are scheduled to peak in mid-May, the 70th anniversary of Israel's founding, which Palestinians call the Nakhba (Catastrophe).
At least 32 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli forces since 30 March. Most were shot by Israeli forces during major protests along the border but others have been hit by tank fire.
Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007 and have fought three wars with Israel since.