- Israeli airstrikes killed at least 10 people and wounded dozens.
- Islamic Jihad says it will hit Tel Aviv and other cities in response
- Israel says the strikes are aimed against a “concrete threat.”
- Sirens sound in Israeli cities as authorities warn of rockets
Israel under attack as Palestinian militants in Gaza launched dozens of rockets into Israel on Friday. In reaction to Israeli airstrikes that killed at least 10 individuals, including a top commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement,
As dusk came, Israeli officials reported that southern and central sirens had been activated, and Israeli television stations appeared to have shown footage of many missiles being shot down by air defense systems. Witnesses in Tel Aviv, the economic hub of Israel, reported hearing booms but no reports of sirens.
The terrorist organization Islamic Jihad, which has the same ideologies as Hamas, the Islamist movement in charge of Gaza, claimed responsibility for firing more than 100 rockets into Israeli cities on Friday, including Tel Aviv. According to Israel’s ambulance service, no casualties have been reported.
The attacks occurred a little over a year after an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in May 2021, which resulted in at least 250 deaths in Gaza and 13 in Israel and completely destroyed the economy of the blockaded territory.
Local health authorities in Gaza had said that the Israeli bombings, which came after days of growing tensions following the arrest of a Palestinian militant commander last week, had left at least 10 dead and 55 injured, including a five-year-old kid.
The commander of Islamic Jihad and about 15 other “terrorists” were killed in the attacks, according to an Israeli spokeswoman, although the IDF did not have a definitive death toll.
“Israel carried out a precise counterterror operation against an immediate threat,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a televised statement in which he pledged to do “whatever it takes to defend our people.”
“Our fight is not with the people of Gaza.” “Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy that wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis,” he said.
The Israeli military said in a Twitter post that its warplanes targeted Islamic Jihad sites in Gaza that “severely affect the organization’s ability to develop military capabilities.”
Al-Jaabari was killed in the attacks, which targeted a number of locations in the heavily populated strip and were characterized by the Israeli military as acting as the key coordinator between Islamic Jihad and Hamas. This was verified by an official of Islamic Jihad.
Glass and debris were scattered over the street, and smoke emanated from the building where al-Jaabari was ostensibly murdered. Ambulances were heard scurrying to other locations as they raced by.
Hundreds of people, some carrying Palestinian flags, marched through the streets of Gaza as mourners prepared to perform funerals for those killed in the assault, while lines developed outside bakeries and shops as residents stocked up on food and essentials.
After being detained by Israel earlier this week during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, Bassam al-Saadi, a prominent commander of the Islamic Jihad organization, was the target of the attacks.
Then, out of concern for reprisal from the organization, which has a base in Gaza, it shut down all border crossings into Gaza as well as a few surrounding roadways, significantly limiting Palestinian travel.
Following the strikes, Israel’s military reported that Defence Minister Benny Gantz had authorized plans to call up 25,000 reservists, indicating that Israel anticipated a protracted conflict.
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In an interview with Al Mayadeen television, a pro-Iranian Lebanese station, Ziad al-Nakhala, the commander of the Islamic Jihad, promised revenge for the attacks.
“There are no red lines in this battle and Tel Aviv will fall under the rockets of the resistance, as well as all Israeli cities,” he said.
Hamas’ armed wing issued a statement saying: “The blood of our people and our mujahideen will not go in vain.”
Tor Wennesland, the Special Coordinator of the United Nations for the Middle East Peace Process, cautioned that the “dangerous” escalation ran the potential of necessitating more help at a time when the world’s resources were already being taxed by other wars.
“The launching of rockets must cease immediately, and I call on all sides to avoid further escalation,” he said.
As a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, Egypt claimed One of a number of violent Palestinian organizations, Islamic Jihad, was established in Gaza in the 1980s and is opposed to any negotiations with Israel.
It is distinct from Hamas but normally works closely with the organization and is seen as being close to Iran.
The Iron Dome anti-missile batteries were functioning, according to the Israeli military spokeswoman, although officials expected rocket assaults on Israel’s capital. He claimed that throughout the 80 km radius around Gaza, Israel had implemented extraordinary restrictions.
According to him, preparations to permit fuel tankers into Gaza in order to maintain the running of the region’s sole power plant were abruptly abandoned when intelligence services noticed moves that suggested assaults against Israeli targets were about to happen.
In Gaza, where inhabitants currently only have 10 hours of electricity per day, the scarcity of fuel is expected to cause further blackouts, severely harming the region’s economy, which depends on international aid and is still struggling to recover from previous battles.
Gaza, a small region with a population of 2.3 million people and an area of 365 square kilometers (140 square miles), has been a hotbed of warfare ever since Hamas seized control. Israel and Gaza have been engaged in five wars since 2009.
Israel and Egypt have now imposed an embargo on the region, severely limiting the flow of people and commodities in and out.
“What Israel wrecked a year ago has not yet been put back together.” No one had time to breathe, and now Israel is bombing again without warning, “said 43-year-old Gaza farmer Mansour Mohammad-Ahmed.