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Three Islamic Jihad Militants Killed in Israeli Strike - 2004-07-22


Three Islamic Jihad militants were killed late Thursday evening when an Israeli military helicopter fired missiles at their car in Gaza City.

Israeli officials confirmed that the target of the operation had been Hazam Rahim, a senior member of Islamic Jihad.

Israel says Mr. Rahim, who was killed in the attack, had been planning to carry out a major terrorist operation inside Israel in the coming days.

An Israeli military helicopter fired at his car as he was traveling in a neighborhood of Gaza City.

Palestinian residents gathered at the scene and pulled three bodies, including that of Mr. Rahim, from the burnt-out wreckage of the vehicle.

He was wanted for previous terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and organizing the launching of homemade Kassam rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel.

Israel also held Mr. Rahim responsible, along with others, for stealing the body parts of Israeli soldiers killed during a Palestinian attack against their armored vehicle in May.

His organization the Islamic Jihad has carried out numerous suicide bombings against Israelis and is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

Earlier on Thursday, Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip blew up a Kassam rocket launcher in the northern part of the territory.

The Israeli Army also uncovered and destroyed two tunnels in Rafah in southern Gaza, which it said were used to smuggle weapons and explosives from neighboring Egypt.