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Israeli Helicopter Strikes in Gaza Strip

August 28, 2003

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) _ An Israeli helicopter fired missiles at a target in the Gaza Strip Thursday, killing a Hamas member and wounding at least three other people, officials and witnesses said.

A helicopter fired at least one missile into Khan Younis, a town near Gaza’s southern border with Egypt, a Palestinian security official said. Witnesses said Israeli jets had been flying over the area for about half an hour before the attack.

The official, who spoken on condition of anonymity, identified the dead man as Hamdi Kalkha, 23. Three others were wounded he said, confirming reports from medical officials.

Hamas supporters speaking by telephone confirmed that Kalkha was a member of Hamas’ military wing.

The Israeli army had no immediate comment.

A witness, Mamoun Salah, 42, said he had been walking toward his home in Khan Younis when the rocket struck about 100 yards away.

``A big explosion went off at the side of the street. I saw a man completely burned fall off the donkey cart he was driving,″ Salah said.

Israel has carried out a number of helicopter strikes in recent days against Palestinian militants in retaliation for an Aug. 19 Hamas bus bombing in Jerusalem that killed 21 people. Israel has warned that all militants are marked for death.

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