GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — An Israeli missile strike that killed a man riding in a car in Gaza City on Sunday afternoon ripped open the vehicle, revealing bags of American dollars inside and scattering currency on the street, some burned by the blast, according to a witness.
The Gaza authorities did not immediately identify the victim, but the Israeli military identified him as Muhammad al-Ghoul and said he had been responsible for Hamas’ financial transactions and handled its “terror funds.”
The witness, who arrived at the scene minutes after the airstrike, said security men in plain clothes prevented photographers from taking photographs there, kept onlookers away, collected the money and searched what remained of the car for more cash. The witness spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
The missile attack was the latest in a string of recent Israeli airstrikes based on what appears to be precise intelligence about the movements of some Hamas operatives who have emerged from their bunkers as the more intensive fighting has subsided. Last week airstrikes killed three senior Hamas commanders in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, and Israel tried to assassinate the chief of Hamas’ military wing, Mohammed Deif, whose fate remains unknown.
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Israeli forces continued Sunday to strike Palestinians suspected of being operatives and buildings in which they are said to be in Gaza as rebels fired rockets and mortar rounds into Israel.
In Rafah, two missiles from Israeli aircraft and the fire they ignited destroyed a three-story commercial center filled with dozens of stores and offices used by doctors, lawyers and contractors. A five-floor building was also damaged in a separate strike.
The Israeli military did not say why those buildings were targeted. In remarks Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the residents of Gaza “to immediately evacuate any building from which Hamas is carrying out terrorist activity.”
Netanyahu added: “Any such place is a target for us. In recent days we have proven there is no immunity for those who fire at Israel’s citizens.”
The military wing of Hamas, the Islamic group that dominates Gaza, claimed responsibility for firing mortar rounds at the Erez crossing point on Gaza’s northern border with Israel. The attack wounded four Israeli civilians who were providing humanitarian assistance at the crossing, according to the Israeli authorities.
The Health Ministry in Gaza said that 16 Palestinians were killed and 52 were wounded in Israeli strikes Sunday. In the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, artillery shells or missiles hit a home, killing five people, including a mother and her three children. Hours after the strike on al-Ghoul’s car at least two missiles hit his home, destroying it.
Iran drone claim
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said Sunday that it had shot down an Israeli drone as it was heading toward the Iranian nuclear-enrichment site in Natanz, local news media reported. The report followed an announcement Sunday by President Hassan Rouhani in which he unveiled Iran’s new, locally produced missiles and drones.