Islamic Jihad leader killed in blast at his home

February 15, 2008 3:23:05 PM PST
A powerful blast went off in the house of a senior Islamic Jihad activist Friday, killing him, his wife and daughter, along with three neighbors, medics and an Islamic Jihad spokesman said. Islamic Jihad claimed Israeli warplanes struck the home of Ayman Atallah Fayed. Israel denied it had launched any airstrike in the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza where Fayed lived. Hamas police said the cause of the blast was not clear.

Witnesses reported seeing fragments of what looked like locally produced rockets at the scene, suggesting the house may have been used to store arms.

Islamic Jihad said Fayed was among the dead, and that the group would carry out reprisal attacks against Israel.

Fayed was a senior member of the Islamic Jihad military wing. Israel routinely targets top militants in airstrikes but Israel denied any such strike on Friday.

The three-story house was flattened by the blast and six nearby homes were badly damaged, witnesses said. At least 40 people were hurt, including 12 who were in critical condition.

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