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Senior Islamic Jihad commander dies as Israel responds to rising tensions | World News

GAZA CITY, GAZA STRICT (AP) — Israel unleashed a wave of airstrikes in Gaza on Friday, killing at least eight people, including senior members of the Islamic Jihad, and injuring another 40, Palestinian officials said.

Israel said it was targeting Islamic Jihad amid heightened tensions after the arrest of senior members in the West Bank earlier this week.

The strike risks igniting yet another war in a region ruled by Hamas and home to about 2 million Palestinians. The assassination of a senior member would likely encounter rockets from Gaza and bring the region closer to full-scale war.

A plume of smoke was heard coming from the seventh floor of a skyscraper in Gaza City on Friday afternoon.

“The Israeli government will not allow Gaza terrorist organizations to set agendas and threaten Israeli citizens in areas bordering Gaza,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement. “Anyone trying to harm Israel should know. We will find you.”

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said eight people, including a five-year-old girl, had been killed and at least 40 injured. Islamic Jihad said Gaza commander Taysel al-Jabari had been killed.

Hundreds gathered outside the morgue of Gaza City’s main Shifa hospital. Some went in to identify their loved ones, but only burst into tears. Some shouted, “May God take revenge on the spies,” referring to Palestinian informants working with Israel.

The Israeli military said it was targeting Islamic Jihad in an operation dubbed “Breaking Dawn.” It also announced “special circumstances”, with schools closed and other activities restricted in communities within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of the border.

Israel closed roads around Gaza earlier this week and sent reinforcements to its border in preparation for a retaliatory strike after the arrest of an Islamic Jihad leader in the occupied West Bank on Monday. His teenage member of the group died in a shootout between Israeli forces and Palestinians.

Israel and Hamas have fought four wars and several minor skirmishes in the 15 years since the group seized power in the coastal zone from rival Palestinian forces. , a series of attacks inside Israel, near-daily military operations in the West Bank, and flashpoint tensions in the Holy Land of Jerusalem, before tensions soared again earlier this year.

Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Al-Nahra told Iran’s Al-Mayadeen television network, “We have started the fight and the fighters of the Palestinian resistance are united to face this aggression.” I have to,” he said. He said there would be no “red line” in the confrontation and condemned Israeli violence.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoom said: “Israel’s enemies who initiated the escalation against Gaza and committed new crimes must pay the price and take responsibility for it.”

Islamic Jihad is smaller than Hamas, but shares much of its ideology. Both groups oppose Israel’s presence and have carried out numerous deadly attacks over the years, including rocket launches into southern Israel. It is unclear to what extent Hamas controls Islamic Jihad, and Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited a community near Gaza on Friday and said authorities were preparing “action to remove the threat from the region”, without giving details.

“We will work with internal resilience and external forces to restore daily life in southern Israel. We will not seek conflict, but will not hesitate to protect our citizens if necessary.”

Earlier on Friday, hundreds of Israelis protested near the Gaza Strip on Friday, demanding the return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers detained by Hamas as well as their captives.

The protesters were led by the family of Hadar Goldin, who was killed along with Oron Shaul in the 2014 Gaza civil war. Hamas identified their remains and two Israeli civilians believed to be mentally ill after wandering into Gaza, as part of thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. I still have it, hoping to replace it.

Protesters broke through two police checkpoints on a heavily guarded road near Gaza and stopped at a third.

They carried the remains of a soldier and a large billboard demanding the return of Abraham Mengistu, an Ethiopian Israeli in his late 20s or early 30s. Mengistu’s family also joined the protest.

In June, Hamas released a rare video showing another prisoner, Hisham al-Said, an Israeli Arab citizen, in a hospital bed with an oxygen mask and an IV. He said his health had deteriorated recently. The reporter covering the protest did not hear any mention of al-Said.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a tight blockade of their territory all this time. Israel says the shutdown is necessary to prevent Hamas from building up its military power, but critics say the policy amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s two million Palestinians.

Israel says no major move to lift the blockade is possible until the remains of its soldiers and captured civilians are released. Israel and Hamas have been negotiating through Egypt on a number of occasions over possible swaps.

Klaus reported from Ottawa, Ontario. Kibbutzyad, Israel. His Associated Press reporter Ariel Shalit, who is in Mordechai, contributed to this report.

Senior Islamic Jihad commander dies as Israel responds to rising tensions | World News

Source link Senior Islamic Jihad commander dies as Israel responds to rising tensions | World News

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