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Top Islamic Jihad Commander Killed in Gaza


A senior Islamic militant has been killed in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, a Jewish settler was killed by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank.

The top military commander of the Islamic Jihad group, Khaled Dahdouh, was killed when an explosion ripped through his car in Gaza City. The circumstances of the blast are unclear. Witnesses say the car blew up as Dahdouh opened one of its doors, and that an Israeli military aircraft was flying overhead at the time.

The Islamic Jihad said he was the victim of an Israeli missile strike.

Hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the hospital where Dahdouh was taken and called for revenge.

Israel has vowed to track down the leaders of Islamic Jihad, in response to six suicide bombings carried out by the group during the past year. But the Israeli military says it was not involved in the explosion.

Violence also spilled into the West Bank, where Palestinian gunmen shot and killed a 48-year-old Jewish settler in a roadside ambush. The Al Aksa Martrys' Brigades, a militant group linked to the Fatah Party of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Just a few kilometers away, a second Israeli was seriously wounded in a drive-by shooting.

West Bank ambushes have been rare since the Israel-Palestinian cease-fire was declared a year ago. But the prospects for peace have dimmed since the Islamic militant group Hamas won Palestinian parliamentary elections in January. Israeli parliamentarian Tommy Lapid.

"The Palestinian people chose a war path, which will be very difficult to extricate ourselves from," he said.

Hamas has not participated in attacks since the election. But the group, which seeks Israel's destruction, says such attacks are legitimate resistance and it will do nothing to stop them.

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