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Israeli airstrike kills militant leader in Gaza Strip as ground campaign draws down

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Smoke rises from an Israeli strike over Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) (The Associated Press)

An Israeli airstrike has killed a militant leader in the Gaza Strip, just hours ahead of an expected seven-hour truce announced by Israel.

The Islamic Jihad group — a close ally of Gaza's Hamas rulers — says that Daniel Mansour, its commander in the northern part of the strip, died when the strike hit his home just before dawn Monday.

Israel has been drawing down its ground operation since the weekend but has kept up its aerial, offshore and artillery bombardments of the strip.

The cease-fire, which was to start at 10 a.m. on Monday, does not apply to the entire territory.

The Gaza war, now in its fourth week, has left more than 1,800 Palestinians and more than 60 Israelis dead.