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Israeli airstrike in Gaza kills 6, including girl

Written by: Staff

GAZA, Apr 7 (Reuters) Israeli aircraft fired missiles on a car carrying Palestinian militants in southern Gaza on Friday and possibly a second car with civilians inside, killing six people including a small girl, witnesses and medics said.

At least 12 people were wounded, medics said.

The Israeli army said a car carrying several ''terrorists'' was struck as it left a training base near the town of Rafah on the border with Egypt.

''The vehicle was coming out of a training camp in which both training and weapons training were being conducted,'' an army spokesman said.

Among the dead from the car carrying militants from the Popular Resistance Committees was a senior commander and bomb maker, militants and witnesses said. They said the girl was the commander's daughter and was dismembered.

It was unclear how many of the dead were militants.

''The doctors are still unable to identify all the dead,'' a Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman said.

Witnesses said Israeli aircraft fired three missiles.

Besides the militants' vehicle, another car carrying civilians outside the camp may have been struck, they said.

The Israeli army spokesman said the military was checking reports of the girl being killed and also the second vehicle being hit.

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 todday, helicopters fired at a helicopter launch pad near Abbas's office in Gaza. There were no casualties in those raids.

Reuters OM VP0213

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