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Israeli airstrike in Gaza kills 5, including girl

Written by: Staff

GAZA, Apr 7 (Reuters) Israeli aircraft struck a car carrying Palestinian militants in the southern Gaza Strip today, killing four inside the vehicle and a small girl who was nearby, witnesses and medics said.

Among the dead militants from the Popular Resistance Committees was a senior commander and a bomb maker, militants and witnesses said.

The aircraft hit the car as it was leaving a militant base near the town of Rafah on the border with Egypt.

''I can confirm a vehicle was attacked in which there were a number of terrorists inside,'' an Israeli Army spokesman said.

''The vehicle was coming out of a training camp in which both training and weapons training were being conducted.'' He said the military was checking reports of the girl being killed. Medics said the girl had been dismembered.

The Popular Resistance Committees is an umbrella group of militants that often fires makeshift rockets into Israel.

Israel has stepped up its air strikes and artillery barrages into Gaza in recent days in response to regular rocket fire from Gaza, which Israel withdrew from last year after 38 years of occupation. The makeshift rockets rarely cause any casualties.

In the early hours today, Israeli attack helicopters fired missiles at two offices of an armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement in Gaza City, wrecking them, Palestinian security sources and witnesses said.

In a third Israeli air strike in Gaza before dawn today, helicopters fired at a helicopter launch pad near Abbas's office in Gaza. There were no casualties in those raids.

Reuters OM VP0120

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