Israeli Strike Kills Hamas Commander

VOANews.com

Hamas says an Israeli air strike has killed one of its commanders in the Gaza Strip.

Witnesses and medics say at least eight other people were wounded late Friday and early Saturday when Israeli warplanes carried out a series of retaliatory strikes in Gaza.  Several buildings and an alleged weapons-smuggling tunnel were hit.

Earlier Friday, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.  The rocket blew out apartment windows and damaged cars, but no injuries were reported.

Israel announced Friday it is filing a complaint about the Ashkelon attack and a mortar fire incident last week to the U.N. Security Council and the Human Rights Council.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry released a statement calling the Ashkelon attack a “clear attempt to kill men, women and children on the eve of the Sabbath.”  The statement says the rocket firing is a “blatant violation of international law.”

Also Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met in New York to discuss a wide range of issues, including the situation in Gaza and further easing of Israel’s blockade of the Palestinian territory.

A U.N. official said Mr. Ban also urged the Jewish state to restrain settlement activity and to agree to an international inquiry into the May 31 naval raid on a Gaza-bound relief supply ship.  Nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed in the raid.

Israel admitted errors in planning the raid but justified the use of lethal force saying its marines came under attack.

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