Palestinian militant shot dead

Israel has accused Assadi of masterminding suicide bombings that killed 10 Israelis since the truce was declared in February.

Israeli troops said they had shot dead the 26 year old Islamic Jihad commander, the most senior Palestinian militant killed since the start of an eight-month-old ceasefire.

Islamic Jihad militants fired several rockets towards Israel from Gaza in response, causing no casualties.

Witnesses said one hit a mourning tent for a dead Palestinian, while the Israeli army said two landed near the border fence with Israel.

Militant groups stopped such attacks last month after a flare-up in violence in which Israel killed several gunmen after similar rocket salvos.

The renewed violence threatened to unravel the frayed ceasefire and undermine hopes that Israel’s Gaza pullout last month, after 38 years of occupation, could revive peacemaking.

The army said soldiers raiding the town of Tulkarm targeted Assadi and another militant, Majed al-Ashkar, killed yesterday, because they had been planning further attacks.

The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the West
Bank killing marked an escalation in violence that threatened to undermine Abbas’s efforts to bring calm and security.

Islamic Jihad said: “We reiterate that Jihad and Resistance are the only option to respond to the Zionist attacks against our people across the homeland.”

The group said it had fired 25 rockets in response to the West Bank killing.

Though the group had declared its commitment to maintain “calm” until the end of the year, its Gaza-based leader, Mohammad Al-Hindi, said: “Calm does not deprive the Palestinian people from responding to crimes.”

Israel has said it has the right to target “ticking bombs”.

Israeli officials say Assadi was behind two suicide bombings this year, one that killed five people at an Israeli shopping mall in the coastal city of Netanya in July and another that killed five Israelis outside a Tel Aviv nightclub in February.

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