Israel Denies Involvement in Death of Palestinian Official

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The top aide to the Palestinian intelligence chief was killed in the Gaza Strip on Saturday when the car he was in exploded, according to Palestinian officials.

According to reports, Col. Tayser Khattab and his bodyguard were driving toward the Palestinian intelligence headquarters when a car bomb killed him and critically injured the bodyguard. Khattab was a top aide to Palestinian intelligence chief Amin al-Hindi.

"I saw Khattab passing by and then a minute later I heard a big explosion and I saw fire coming from the car," eyewitness Ziad Sharkh said. The blast threw parts of the car 65 feet away.

Palestinians blamed Israel for the bombing. Israel denied involvement but reaffirmed its policy of targeting militants.

"It's again a Palestinian lie," Israeli defense official Yarden Vatikay said.

Israel admits it has killed about 50 Palestinians in targeted attacks, the majority being militants it claims were planning to attack Israeli citizens. Some civilians, including children, were accidentally killed in the attacks.

Khattab's boss al-Hindi has met with Israeli counterparts over the past 11 months, but recent talks broke down as violence escalated.

A funeral for Khattab was held later Saturday.

Anonymous sources in the Israeli government speculated the death was part of a feud between Palestinian factions. Khattab was a member of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement.

In a second blast, a 22-year-old Palestinian woman was killed and four others were wounded when the taxi that carried them exploded near Tulkarem. Palestinian security officials said Abeer Al-Samra was the wife of Fatah gunman Ahmed Tabok. Tabok is currently being held in a Palestinian jail.

While Palestinian officials said they did not know the cause of the explosion, they speculated that another car bomb or an Israeli rocket could be the cause. Said Jawabre, one of the four wounded in the blast, said he saw a flash from the front of the car and didn't recall hearing a helicopter.

An 8-year-old Israeli child was slightly wounded in Hebron when Palestinian gunmen opened fire. Gunfire exchanges in the divided city have continued sporadically over the previous 48 hours, with at least five Palestinians injured on Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.