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Palestinian killed in first deadly Israeli airstrike since truce

Published: Updated:

A Palestinian man was killed on Tuesday after an Israel air strike on Gaza City, in the first deadly air raid since an Egyptian-brokered truce went into force last November.

Gaza’s health ministry said one man was killed and another injured.

“A man in his 20s was martyred and another injured in an Israeli air strike... in Shati refugee camp in western Gaza City,” health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP news agency.

An Israeli government spokesman told Reuters news agency the military had hit a “jihadi who was an expert in manufacturing rockets”.

He added that the man had “played a role” in a rocket attack from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula against Israel’s Red Sea resort of Eilat on April 17, which had caused no damage or injuries.

Locals in Gaza named the dead man as Haitham al-Meshal, 29,saying he was hit while riding a motorcycle in the north of the enclave. He was believed to be a member of Hamas’s national security force, but relatives said he also belonged to a Jihadist Salafist organization.

There was also bloodshed in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where for the first time since 2011, a Palestinian killed a Jewish settler. Israeli soldiers shot and wounded the attacker after he stabbed the man at a busy intersection.

Both incidents held the potential of wider confrontation along the Gaza frontier.

Over the last two months, there has been an uptick in rocket fire on southern Israel after more than three months of complete quiet following a deadly confrontation in November which ended with the Egyptian-brokered truce deal.

The latest firing was on Monday when a mortar shell struck an open area in southern Israel, a day after an Israeli air strike on southern Gaza. Neither incident caused any injuries.

On Sunday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel would retaliate with great force against any rocket or missile fire on Israeli territory.

“I want to make it clear that we will respond in a very offensive way against any rockets or missiles. We will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of Israelis... on all fronts,” his office quoted him as saying.