Israeli airstrikes on Gaza: 10 dead, including a senior militant

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza: 10 dead, including a senior militant

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said his country has “zero tolerance” for Gaza attacks but has “no interest” in a wider war.

Israel launched a wave of airstrikes in Gaza on Friday, killing at least 10 people, including a senior militant, and wounding dozens, according to Palestinian officials. Israel said it was targeting the Islamic Jihad militant group in response to an “imminent threat” following the arrest of another senior militant in the occupied West Bank earlier this week.

Hours later, Palestinian militants launched a barrage of rockets into central and southern Israel with air raid sirens wailing, bringing the two sides closer to an all-out war. Israel and Gaza’s militant rulers Hamas have fought four wars and several smaller battles in the past 15 years. At a staggering cost to 2 million Palestinian residents of this land.

An explosion was heard in Gaza City, where smoke billowed from the seventh floor of a high-rise building Friday afternoon. A video released by the military showed the attacks blowing up three watchtowers that were manned by suspected militants.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said his country has “zero tolerance” for Gaza attacks but has “no interest” in a wider war.

Violence is a primary test for Lapid assumed the role of interim prime minister Ahead of the November election where he hopes to retain the post. He has diplomatic experience and served as foreign minister in the outgoing government, but his security credentials are poor.

Hamas also faces a dilemma in deciding whether to join a new battle – just a year after the last war, which caused widespread destruction. Since then, almost no reconstruction has taken place, and the isolated coastal territory is mired in poverty, with unemployment hovering around 50 percent.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that a 5-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman were among the dead and 55 others were injured. No distinction was made between civilians and militias. The Israeli military said that initial estimates indicated that about 15 fighters had been killed.

Islamic Jihad said its commander in northern Gaza, Taysir al-Jabari, was among the dead. He had replaced another fighter They were killed in an airstrike in 2019. Hundreds of people marched at his funeral and those of the other dead, and many mourners waved Palestinian flags and Islamic Jihad flags and called for revenge.

Israel’s Kan Radio TV later showed footage of at least two missiles being intercepted as air raid sirens went off. An explosion was heard in Tel Aviv. No news has been released yet about possible Israeli casualties.

Several hundred people gathered outside the morgue of the main hospital of Gaza City in the city of Shifa. Some came in to identify loved ones, but emerged in tears. “God take revenge on the spies,” shouted one, referring to Palestinian informants who cooperate with Israel.

An Israeli army spokesman said it carried out the strikes in response to an “imminent threat” from two militia squads armed with anti-tank missiles. The spokesman, who asked not to be named, told reporters that al-Jabari was deliberately targeted and was responsible for “numerous attacks” on Israel.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, meanwhile, ordered the recall of 25,000 reservists if needed. And the military declared a “state of emergency” on the home front, closing schools and imposing restrictions on other activities in communities within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of the border.

Earlier this week, Israel closed roads around Gaza and sent reinforcements to the border as it prepared for a retaliatory strike following the capture on Monday of Islamic Jihad leader Bassam al-Saadi in a military raid in the occupied West Bank. A teenage member of this group was killed in a clash between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants.

Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since the militant group seized power in the coastal strip from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. The last one was in May 2021. Tensions rose again earlier this year After a wave of attacks inside Israel, almost daily military operations in the West Bank and tensions in the holy site of Jerusalem.

The leader of Islamic Jihad, Ziad Al-Nakhleh, said in a conversation with Al-Mayadeen TV channel from Iran: Palestinian resistance fighters must stand together to face this aggression. He said “there will be no red lines” and blamed the violence on Israel.

Fawzi Barhoum, the spokesman of Hamas, said: “The enemy of Israel, who started the escalation of tension against Gaza and committed a new crime, must pay for it and take full responsibility for it.”

Islamic Jihad is smaller than Hamas It shares his ideology to a large extent. Both groups oppose the existence of Israel and have carried out many deadly attacks over the years, including firing rockets into Israel. It is unclear how much control Hamas has over Islamic Jihad, and Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a strict blockade of this land since Hamas took over. Israel says the shutdown is necessary to prevent Hamas from increasing its military capabilities, while critics say the policy amounts to collective punishment.

Mohammad Abu Salmiya, director of Shefa Hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital, said hospitals were facing shortages after Israel imposed a total blockade on Gaza earlier this week. He said there were enough supplies and essential medicines to keep hospitals running for five days in normal times, but “they could run out at any moment” as a new round of fighting began.

Israel halted expected fuel deliveries to Gaza’s only power plant, which was expected to shut down early Saturday if fuel did not enter Gaza. Even when the plant is operating at full capacity, Gazans continue to endure daily power outages that last several hours.

Earlier on Friday, several hundred Israelis protested near the Gaza Strip on Friday, demanding the return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers held by Hamas.

The protesters were led by the family of Hadar Goldin, who was killed along with Oron Shaul in the 2014 Gaza war. Hamas still holds their remains, as well as two Israeli civilians who wandered into Gaza and are believed to be mentally ill, and hopes to exchange them for some of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Israel says there will be no major move to lift the blockade until the remains of captured soldiers and civilians are released. Israel and Hamas have held several rounds of Egyptian-mediated talks on a possible exchange.

Krause reported from Ottawa, Ontario. Associated Press correspondent Ariel Shalit in Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, Israel, contributed to this report.

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