x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Israeli aircraft kills five Palestinians

Israel claims the Palestinians were responsible for recent rocket attacks.

JERUSALEM // Israeli aircraft killed five Palestinian militants from the Islamic Jihad group, the military said yesterday.

Israel claimed they were responsible for recent rocket attacks on the country.

The military said it targeted the same group of militants that fired rockets that exploded near the city of Ashdod on Wednesday.

No Israelis were injured in that attack.

A military spokesman said the Palestinians were hit as they prepared to launch more rockets at Israel. The military "will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians", he said.

The Gaza health ministry spokesman, Adham Abu Salmia, said five men were killed and another 11 injured in an explosion inside a militant training site in southern Gaza.

Islamic Jihad is one of the militant groups in Gaza that frequently fires rockets into southern Israel, prompting Israeli reprisal strikes.

An Islamic Jihad spokesman, Abu Ahmed, said one of its local field commanders, Ahmed Sheikh Khalil, was killed.

He said Khalil was one of the group's chief bomb makers, adding that "today was a great loss for us in the Islamic Jihad".

"The size of our retaliation will equal our loss," he added.

The Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad took responsibility for multiple suicide bombings and shooting attacks against civilians in Israel during the second Palestinian intifadah, or uprising, in the first half of the last decade.

Israel and Hamas blamed each other for the flare in violence yesterday.