Thousands of Palestinians gathered late Thursday night in front of a hospital in the town of Rafah in protest against earlier Israeli targeted killing of Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) leader Jamal Abu Samhadana.
They carried the body of Abu Samhadana on their shoulders and marched the town amid chanting of revenge and death to Israel.
Israeli reconnaissance drones and Apache helicopters joined together an airstrike on a military training camp near the town of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip late Thursday night, killing Abu Samhadana and three others, witnesses and medics said.
They said that when Abu Samhadana was targeted, he was holding a meeting with other militants, members in the PRC armed wing known as Salah al-Dein Brigades in the training camp.
Israeli Radio, however, quoted an Israel Defense Forces (IDF)spokesman as saying that Abu Samhadana was targeted as he was giving instructions to members in his militant group to carry out armed attacks against Israel.
Khaled al-Batsh, a senior Islamic Jihad leader said in reaction to the Israeli airstrike that killing Abu Samhadana is "a painful and difficult strike in the history of Palestinian armed resistance against the Zionist occupation."
"The Zionist occupation would be totally responsible for the consequences and the avenge reaction that would be carried out against killing Abu Samhadana," said al-Batsh.
Abu Qussai, spokesman of Fatah movement's armed wing al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the Gaza Strip, also condemned that his group would avenge Abu Samhadana's death.
Meanwhile, The Palestinian government led by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) held Israel responsible for killing Abu Samhadana.
Ghazi Hamad, spokesman of the government told reporters that the Palestinian government mourns with sorrow and grieves the heroic leader and three others.
Hamad said that in addition of being the top leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, Abu Samhadana is also the General Inspector of the Hamas-led Ministry of Interior.
"The government condemns this criminal action and the bloody manner that the government of occupation is behaving against our people," said Hamad, adding the Israeli government continues murder and killing especially in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian government "reiterates that the Israeli government would be totally responsible for the outcome, the consequences and the reaction towards this crime and this awful massacre," warned the spokesman.
(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2006)