Palestinian militants fire rockets at Israel after Gaza airstrike

Gaza: Palestinian militants in Gaza fired dozens of rockets at Israel on Friday in response to an Israeli airstrike that killed at least 10 people, including a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.

As darkness fell, Israeli officials said sirens were sounded in the southern and central regions, while images broadcast by Israeli television stations showed several missiles shot down by air defense systems. In Tel Aviv, Israel’s economic hub, eyewitnesses said they could hear booms but there were no reports of sirens.

Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group with like-minded Hamas in charge of Gaza’s Islamic Movement, said on Friday it had fired more than 100 rockets at Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv. Israel’s ambulance service said there were no reports of casualties.

The attacks in May 2021 came a year after an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas that killed at least 250 in Gaza and 13 in Israel and shattered the blocked enclave’s economy.

Earlier, local health officials in Gaza said at least 10 people, including a five-year-old child, were killed and 55 injured in Israeli airstrikes, which came after days of tension following the arrest of a Palestinian terrorist leader. was. Week.

An Israeli spokesman said Islamic Jihad commander Taisir al-Jabari and about 15 “terrorists” were killed in the attacks, but said the military had no final casualties.

Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a televised statement, “Israel launched a precise counter-terrorism operation against the immediate threat.”

“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 “seriously affecting the organization’s ability to develop military capabilities.”

An Islamic Jihad official confirmed that al-Jabari, described by the Israeli military as the main coordinator between Islamic Jihad and Hamas, was killed in the attacks, which hit several targets around the densely populated strip. .

Smoke rose from a building where al-Jabari was apparently killed and glass and rubble were scattered across the road amid the sound of ambulances rushing at other sites.

As mourners prepared to perform funeral rites for those killed in the attacks, hundreds, some holding Palestinian flags, marched through the streets of Gaza, while queues formed outside bakeries and supermarkets as people had stocked up on food and staples.

Earlier this week, the attacks came after Israel arrested Bassam al-Saadi, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad group, during a raid in the West Bank-held city of Jenin.

It later closed all Gaza crossings and some surrounding roads out of fear of reprisal from the group, which has a stronghold in Gaza, further restricting Palestinian movement.

Israel’s military said Defense Minister Benny Gantz had approved a plan to call 25,000 reservists after the attacks, indicating that Israel was expecting an extended confrontation.

‘no red line’

In an interview on pro-Iranian Lebanese channel Al Mayadeen Television, Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nakhla vowed retribution for the attacks.

“There is no red line in this fight 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.”

The UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Tor Venesland, warned that the “alarming” escalation risked creating the need for more aid at a time when world resources were stretched by other conflicts.

“The launch of rockets must stop immediately and I call on all sides to refrain from proceeding,” he said.

Egypt said it was mediating between Israel and the Palestinians.

Islamic Jihad, one of a group of Palestinian terrorist groups, was founded in Gaza in the 1980s and opposes political dialogue with Israel. Considered close to Iran, it is separate from Hamas but generally cooperates closely with the movement.

An Israeli military spokesman said officials expected rocket attacks against the Israeli center, but added that the Iron Dome anti-missile battery was operational. He said special measures have been taken in Israeli areas around 80 kilometers from Gaza.

He said plans to allow fuel trucks into Gaza to keep the region’s only power plant operating were abandoned at the last minute because intelligence picked up on movements that indicated attacks on Israeli positions were imminent.

The fuel shortage could lead to further power cuts in Gaza, where residents already have electricity for only 10 hours a day, and impact the economy of a region that relies on foreign aid and is still in the past. Struggling to recover from wars.

A narrow strip of land where some 2.3 million people live on a patch of 365 square kilometers (140 sq mi), Gaza has been a constant point of conflict since Hamas took control. Israel has fought five conflicts with Gaza since 2009.

The area has since been under a blockade, with Israel and Egypt strictly restricting the movement of people and goods in and out.

Mansoor Mohamed-Ahmed, 43, a farmer in the middle, said, “We are yet to rebuild what Israel destroyed a year ago. People didn’t have a chance to breathe, and Israel is here for no reason.” Let’s attack again.” Gaza