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Israeli Strikes in Gaza Kill Three Senior Palestinian Armed Group Commanders

Israel killed three senior Islamic Jihad commanders in Gaza air strikes, Palestinian officials said, as the Israeli military confirmed it was carrying out an operation against the group before dawn on Tuesday.

Medics said at least six Palestinians were killed in the air strikes, three of whom were civilians, and several more were wounded.

The Israeli military said it targeted three senior commanders of the Islamic Jihad, the second most powerful armed group in the Hamas-ruled, blockaded coastal enclave. Two Islamic Jihad sources confirmed the deaths.

Powerful explosions rocked Gaza and a video circulating on social media, which Reuters could not immediately verify, showed smoke billowing and flames lighting up the night sky.

Last week, the death of a Palestinian hunger striker in Israeli custody triggered several hours of cross-border fighting between Israel and armed groups in Gaza, in which one Palestinian man was killed.

The air strikes marked the latest incident in more than a year of surging violence, with repeated Israeli military raids and escalating settler violence in the occupied West Bank amid a spate of Palestinian street attacks targeting Israelis. More than 90 Palestinians and at least 19 Israelis and foreigners have been killed since January.

COGAT, a unit in the Israeli defence ministry that coordinates civilian affairs with the Palestinians, said two crossings with Gaza were closed for entry and exit of people and goods until further notice.

In anticipation of rocket fire in response to the killings, the Israeli military released special instructions for Israelis living in towns within 40 kilometres of Gaza, including to remain near bomb shelters from 2:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday until 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Source : Yahoo