Donors Pledge $7.4Bln in Aid to Help Palestinian Recovery

PARIS -- A conference of international donors pledged $7.4 billion in aid to Palestinians on the eve of a deadly strike by Israel that took out the leadership of the Islamic Jihad organization.

Hamas-ruled Gaza will likely see little of the unprecedented $7.4 billion in aid promised to the Palestinians by the international community.

While donor countries say they will not ignore the growing suffering in the isolated territory, they do not seem eager to channel large sums there that could inadvertently help prolong Hamas' rule.

Still, the Islamic militants, pushed further into a corner, could emerge as perhaps the biggest spoiler of the renewed Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking that the economic aid is meant to buttress.

The angry reaction by Hamas officials on Monday indicated that Gaza's cash-strapped rulers were rattled by the huge amounts promised to their rival, moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denounced the Paris conference as a "declaration of war" on Hamas.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Israeli aircraft launched an assault on the radical Islamic Jihad from the skies over Gaza, killing the group's overall commander and nine other militants in three fiery strikes ending early Tuesday.

A fourth attack on a security post in southern Gaza killed two Hamas militants.

The heavy death toll was part of a stepped-up offensive against Gaza militants, who fire rockets into southern Israel almost daily.

Islamic Jihad, a small radical group with ties to Iran, has taken responsibility for most of the barrages, including an attack this week that slightly wounded a 2-year-old Israeli boy.