Palestinian militants in Gaza fired dozens of rockets at Israel on Friday in response to Israeli airstrikes that killed not less than 10 individuals, together with a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad motion.
As darkness fell, Israeli authorities mentioned sirens had sounded within the southern and central areas, whereas photographs broadcast by Israeli tv stations appeared to indicate plenty of missiles being shot down by air protection techniques. In Tel Aviv, Israel’s financial hub, witnesses mentioned they might hear booms, however there have been no experiences of sirens.
Islamic Jihad, a militant group with an analogous ideology to Hamas, the Islamist motion in control of Gaza, mentioned it had fired greater than 100 rockets into Israeli cities, together with Tel Aviv, on Friday. Israel’s ambulance service mentioned there have been no experiences of accidents.
The assaults got here somewhat greater than a 12 months after an 11-day warfare between Israel and Hamas in May 2021, which killed not less than 250 individuals in Gaza and 13 in Israel and left the blockaded enclave’s financial system shattered.
Earlier, native well being officers in Gaza mentioned not less than 10 individuals, together with a five-year-old little one, had been killed and 55 wounded within the Israeli airstrikes, which got here after days of escalating tensions following the arrest of a Palestinian militant chief throughout Israeli airstrikes. week.
An Israeli spokesman mentioned the strikes had killed Islamic Jihad commander Tayseer al-Jaabari and about 15 “terrorists”, however mentioned the army didn’t have a remaining casualty determine.
“Israel conducted a precise counter-terror operation against an immediate threat,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid mentioned in a televised assertion, pledging 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 mentioned.
The Israeli army mentioned in a Twitter put up that its warplanes focused Islamic Jihad websites in Gaza which are “severely affecting the organization’s ability to develop military capabilities.”
An Islamic Jihad official confirmed that al-Jaabari, whom the Israeli army described because the most important coordinator between Islamic Jihad and Hamas, had been killed within the strikes, which hit a number of targets across the densely populated strip.
Smoke rose from a constructing the place al-Jaabari was apparently killed, and glass and rubble have been strewn throughout the road to the sound of ambulances dashing to different areas.
As mourners ready to carry funerals for these killed within the assaults, tons of, some carrying Palestinian flags, marched by means of Gaza’s streets as queues shaped outdoors bakeries and supermarkets as individuals stocked up on meals and staples.
The assaults got here after Israel arrested Bassam al-Saadi, a senior chief of the Islamic Jihad group, throughout a raid within the occupied West Bank metropolis of Jenin earlier this week.
It subsequently closed all Gaza crossings and a few close by roads for concern of retaliation from the group, which has a stronghold in Gaza, additional limiting Palestinian motion.
Israel’s army mentioned Defense Minister Benny Gantz had permitted plans to name up 25,000 reservists after the assaults, signaling Israel anticipated an prolonged confrontation.
‘NO RED LINES’
In an interview on Al Mayadeen TV, a pro-Iranian Lebanese channel, Islamic Jihad chief Ziad al-Nakhala vowed retaliation for the assaults.
“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 mentioned.
Hamas’s armed wing issued a press release saying: “The blood of our people and our mujahideen will not be in vain.”
The UN particular coordinator for the Middle East peace course of, Tor Wennesland, warned that the “dangerous” escalation risked making a want for extra help at a time when the world’s assets have been stretched by different conflicts.
“The firing of rockets must cease immediately and I call on all sides to avoid further escalation,” he mentioned.
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Islamic Jihad, one in every of a cluster of Palestinian militant teams, was based in Gaza within the Nineteen Eighties and opposes political dialogue with Israel. Considered too near Iran, it’s separate from Hamas however usually cooperates carefully with the motion.
The Israeli army spokesman mentioned authorities anticipated there to be rocket assaults in opposition to central Israel, however mentioned the Iron Dome anti-missile batteries have been operational. He mentioned particular measures had been imposed in Israeli areas 80 kilometers round Gaza.
He mentioned plans to enable gasoline vans into Gaza to preserve the realm’s solely energy plant working had been dropped on the final minute when intelligence picked up actions indicating assaults on Israeli targets have been imminent.
The lack of gasoline is ready to steer to extra blackouts in Gaza, the place residents have already got simply 10 hours of electrical energy a day, and additional hit the financial system of a area depending on international help and nonetheless struggling to get better from earlier wars.
A slim strip of land the place about 2.3 million individuals reside in an space of 365 sq. kilometers (140 sq. miles), Gaza has been a relentless level of battle ever since Hamas took management. Israel has fought 5 conflicts with Gaza since 2009.
The space has since been below blockade, with Israel and Egypt limiting the motion of individuals and items out and in.
“We have not yet been able to reconstruct what Israel had destroyed a year ago. People had no chance to breathe and here Israel is attacking again for no reason,” mentioned Mansour Mohammad-Ahmed, 43, a farmer from the central space. Gaza.
Reporting by Nidal al Mughrabi, Henriette Chacar, James Mackenzie; Editing by Mark Potter, Frank Jack Daniel and Daniel Wallis