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Israel attacks Gaza over threat of ‘imminent’ retaliation

Israeli forces launched airstrikes against the Gaza Strip on Friday, killing 15 people, including leaders of the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The militant group responded by firing dozens of missiles into Israel and sounding warning sirens in the south and center of the country in the biggest flare-up of tensions since the 11-day war in Gaza last May.

Israeli airstrikes and Islamic Jihad rocket launches continued on Saturday. Israeli forces have arrested 19 members of the Islamic Jihad overnight in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military said.

Israeli officials said they conducted Friday’s strike in Gaza in response to an “imminent threat”, killing 15 militants, including the commander of Islamic Jihad in northern Gaza, Taisir al-Jabari. I said I was inside.

Gaza’s health ministry said 15 people were killed, including a 5-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman, and 125 were injured.

The escalation comes after a week of heightened tensions following Monday’s arrest in the West Bank of Bassam al-Saadi, another high-ranking Islamic Jihad official who sparked fears of reprisals by militant groups.

Islamic Jihad said on Friday it had fired more than 100 rockets in response to Israeli airstrikes. An Israeli military official said 74 missiles were launched and 63 reached Israel, but all but one that hit a road fell on empty land or was intercepted.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said that in addition to al-Jabari, the Israeli strike targeted “a cell preparing to launch an anti-tank missile strike against Israel”.

“Anyone trying to harm Israel should know, we will find you,” he said. “Security forces will act against Islamic Jihad terrorists and eliminate the threat they pose to Israeli citizens.”

Forge Barhoum, spokesman for Hamas, the Palestinian extremist group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, said Israel had “launched a new violent escalation . . . I have committed a crime.”

“The Palestinian resistance factions are united in this battle and will not remain silent,” he said.

The Israel Defense Forces said its reserve forces had been mobilized to deal with Islamic Jihad and Hamas reprisals. Israel and Hamas have fought his four wars in Gaza since 2007, including his 11-day conflict last year.

Israel has declared a “special situation”, banning civilian activity within an 80-kilometer radius of Gaza, a 365-square-kilometer land bounded by Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea, which is home to more than two million poor Palestinians. Limited.

Several roads in southern Israel bordering Gaza were closed by Israeli authorities earlier this week following Al-Saadi’s arrest.

Shaul Shei, a former Israel Defense Forces intelligence officer and now a lecturer at Reichmann University, said whether the confrontation escalated more dramatically would depend on Hamas’ stance.

“The main question is to what extent [Hamas] We are ready to crush the Islamic Jihad,” he said. “Theoretically we can contain them if they want.

The Iran-backed Islamic Jihad shares Hamas’ opposition to Israel’s presence. However, even though the two groups often work together, it is smaller and more distinct than Hamas.

Reuben Berko, a former adviser to Israel’s then-Gaza government on Arab affairs, said al-Jabari was considered a “very senior commander” of the Islamic Jihad and his assassination was the “heart” of the group. said he hit a operation.

Israel attacks Gaza over threat of ‘imminent’ retaliation

Source link Israel attacks Gaza over threat of ‘imminent’ retaliation

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