IAF Gaza strikes kill 6 including gunmen linked to Shalit kidnap
Army of Islam second in command among dead; two more Palestinians wounded in attack on central Strip.
At least six Palestinian militants were killed on Tuesday in a series of Israel Air Force attacks on the Gaza Strip, just as Israel and Hamas were in the final stages of an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire deal.
Among the dead was Muataz Durmush, the second in command of the militant organization Army of Islam. The other casualties were also apparently members of the group. Muataz' half brother Mumtaz is considered the commander of the Army of Islam, which was involved in the 2006 kidnapping of Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.
Five militants were killed when the IAF attacked a blue Subaru in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis. The strike destroyed the car and the Palestinian Health Ministry said all of its occupants were killed.
Another militant was killed in an attack on the central Gaza town of Deir el-Balah. The dead man was identified as a member of the Army of Islam, a Palestinian group which shares ideology with al-Qaida.
Two others were wounded in a strike just minutes before in the same town. Their identities were not immediately known.
The IDF confirmed all three of the attacks and said it had targeted militants in vehicles, and said that all three strikes were carried out in accordance with specific intelligence supplied by the Shin Bet security service regarding militant activity.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri condemned the attacks as an attempt to ruin efforts to reach a ceasefire and vowed revenge.
Hamas had said earlier Tuesday that a two-phase truce deal with Israel could start as soon as Thursday and would begin with a three-day cessation of hostilities.
Abu-Zuhri had said then that Egypt would announce the deal soon, "barring any unforseen developments."