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Gaza Military Chief Targeted in Israeli Raid in Gaza - 2002-07-22


An attack by an Israeli warplane at a location in the Gaza Strip late Monday night has killed at least 10 people and wounded as many as 100 others.

Witnesses said several buildings were damaged or destroyed by an air-to-ground missile fired by an Israeli F-16 in a Gaza City neighborhood.

The apparent target of the attack was Salah Shehade, head of the Izzadine al-Qassam military wing of the Palestinian group Hamas. Hamas issued a statement saying Mr. Shehade was only slightly wounded in the attack but that his wife and three children were killed.

Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo called the raid a war crime and accused Israel of trying to sabotage efforts at restoring stability to the region.

Palestinian groups have called for a day of anger on Tuesday to protest the Israeli strike.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat described the attack as an attempt by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to torpedo efforts to put the peace process back on track.

The attack comes as Israel and the Palestinians announced measures aimed at easing tensions between the two sides.

On Monday, Israel allowed a leading Palestinian moderate to reopen his offices in East Jerusalem, and released some frozen tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority.

Israel closed the offices of Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh two weeks ago charging they were being misused on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

The offices were allowed to reopen after Mr. Nusseibeh signed a statement saying he will not represent the Palestinian Authority or accept funds from the organization.

Israel also announced it has released $20 million in tax revenues owed to the Palestinian authority.

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