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      Terror Mastermind Killed in IAF Surgical Air Strike

      A PA terrorist mastermind was killed Thursday in a surgical air strike carried out by IAF fighter pilots near Gaza City.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 12/8/2011, 2:25 PM / Last Update: 12/8/2011, 2:41 AM

      Gaza strike (archive)
      Gaza strike (archive)
      Flash 90


      At least two Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists are dead in Gaza following a targeted, surgical air strike on a vehicle by fighter pilots of the Israeli Air Force. 

      One of the two dead was a senior operative who had coordinated numerous attacks against Israeli civilians.

      Both were members of a terrorist cell belonging to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades organization, according to the IDF, who added the cell had been planning to infiltrate Israel's border to carry out another attack.

      A Gaza Health Ministry official was quoted by the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency as saying that five bystanders were also wounded in the blast, but the report has not been confirmed.

      The IDF subsequently issued a statement saying that the operation had been a joint Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet)-IDF operation conducted by IAF aircraft . The two terrorists, joined by a third operative from an allied terror group, had been targeted while they were in a vehicle at a public garden near Gaza City.

      "The cell was planning western border attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces," explained the IDF spokesperson.

      Atzam Tzubhi Ismail Batash, 43, was a senior operative and head of the "Army of the Faithful" unit of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades organization. 

      Batash, the specific target of the attack, was the mastermind of the planned attacks to be carried out across Israel's western border -- and he was the one who had coordinated terrorists and directing their activities in past attacks.

      "An accurate strike was identified," the IDF spokesperson added, noting that a surgical strike had been carried out with little collateral damage.