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Senior Islamic Jihad operative, Israeli reservist killed in Gaza

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(JTA) — Israeli troops killed a senior Islamic Jihad operative in the Gaza Strip, and an Israeli reservist was killed in fighting.

Salah Abu-Hassanein, a regional commander of the Islamic Jihad group in the Rafah area in the northern Gaza Strip, was killed late Thursday night in a strike that the Israel Defense Forces launched in cooperation with Israel’s Shin Bet security service, Army Radio reported.

An official from Hamas’ government in Gaza said Abu-Hassanein was killed along with his son, Abdulaziz Salah Hassanein.

The Israeli army said that Sgt. Yair Ashkenazy, 36, from Rehovot, was killed Friday in fighting in the northern part of the Strip.

Also on Thursday, a home in the Israeli city of Ashkelon was hit directly by a rocket from Gaza. No one was injured in the explosion.

Some 16 Palestinians died in the early hours of Friday, the 18th day of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza, the Ma’an news agency reported. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Palestinian ministry of health, said that the latest deaths brought the death toll since the beginning of the assault to 815, with over 5,200 wounded.

Ashkenazy’s death brings Israel’s death toll in the hostilities to 36; three of the fatalities were civilians.

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