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Palestinian militant leader killed in Gaza blast

A car explosion outside a mosque in Gaza killed a top commander of the Popular Resistance Committees.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2006 17:47 IST

A car explosion outside a mosque in Gaza on Friday killed a top commander of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a group often responsible for rocket attacks against Israel, Palestinian security sources said.

The PRC immediately accused Israel of assassinating the commander, whom it identified as Khalil al-Quqa.

"Israel killed him and they will pay for it," a PRC spokesman told the agency.

The explosion followed a suicide bombing that killed four Israelis in the West Bank on Thursday.

The suicide bombing was claimed by al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group linked to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah group.

The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the Gaza City blast. Israel has launched several recent air strikes in Gaza targeting militants.

Witnesses said the car blast occurred near a mosque at the start of Friday prayers.

One boy was wounded in the head by flying debris, though medics said the injury was not life threatening.

All that was left of the car after the blast was a mangled heap of charred metal.

The PRC, an umbrella group of militants in Gaza, has refused to recognise a March 2005 truce, citing Israel's non-compliance.

Quqa is one of two top commander of the PRC.

First Published: Mar 31, 2006 17:47 IST