Hamas Militant Killed in Gaza Strike Was 'Physically' Involved in Shalit Kidnapping

Senior Hamas militant Tayser Abu Snima was killed in Israel air strike overnight in retaliation for attack on Israeli school bus; IDF spokesperson says Shalit family being updated on details of Snima's involvement in Gilad Shalit's kidnapping.

The Hamas militant whom Israel killed in a retaliatory air strike overnight on Saturday had been involved in the kidnapping of Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, an IDF spokesperson said on Saturday evening.

Israel said that Tayser Abu Snima was "directly and physically involved" in the 2006 capture of Gilad Shalit, which occurred during a cross-border raid.

Snima and strike on Gaza - AP - April 9, 2011

The IDF spokesperson said that Shalit's family was notified of the incident.

Snima was also "in charge of executing a terror attack from Sinai, firing rockets at the city of Eilat," the IDF spokesperson said.

The Israeli air strike which killed Snima was carried out in retaliation for the Hamas attack on an Israeli school bus on Thursday, which left a teenager critically wounded and the bus driver moderately wounded.

Since Thursday, tensions on the border have escalated dramatically, with over 120 rockets, mortars, and Grad missiles being fired from Gaza into Israel. Eight rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for Hamas's armed wing, said Snima's killing "will not affect our work" and dismissed Israel's claims.

He said Israel "does not have the information about Shalit's capture to be able to say who among our leaders had a role in its execution."

Israeli forces attacked 11 Gaza terror cells over the course of the weekend, an IDF spokesperson said.

Palestinians in Gaza say that 18 people were killed in Israeli air strikes over the weekend and over 60 wounded. Paramedics in the strip say that many of those wounded were civilians, including women and children.

Ubaida also accused Israel of "looking for an achievement as a cover for their crimes," referring to Israel's punishing retaliatory strikes on the Strip.