Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip are two of the most important cities in (CNN) As hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militant organizations heat up, the Israeli military carried out deadly airstrikes in Gaza on Friday, targeting what it claimed were Islamic Jihad sites.
Tayseer Al Jabari, a prominent leader of Islamic Jihad, was killed in an Israeli strike, the group announced in a statement. One of Islamic Jihad’s military leaders, he served in the Quds Brigade, the group claims and was also on its Military Council.
A 5-year-old kid and a 23-year-old woman were among the dead, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Another 75 people were reportedly hurt. Israel claims that the vast majority of those murdered were terrorists.
At a skyscraper named the Palestine Tower, a CNN producer witnessed two dead being taken out by doctors after one of the strikes.
“Breaking Dawn,” an Israeli army statement referred to the military action targeting Islamic Jihad, the smaller of the two main armed factions in Gaza.
Preemptive airstrikes against Al Jabari and two anti-tank squadrons on their way to attack Israeli soldiers were the major target of Israeli military action, according to the Israeli army.
An army spokesman told reporters on a conference call Friday night that the two squads had been tracked for several days before the Air Force’s operation, and that Israel had faced an imminent threat for several days as the two militant units moved very close to the fence separating Gaza from Israel. The spokesman did not elaborate.
The Israeli army has declared a “special situation” in the Gaza Strip in preparation for probable rocket fire or other reprisal attacks.
A joint statement from Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz stated that “the objective of this operation is the elimination of a concrete threat against the citizens of Israel and the civilians living adjacent to the Gaza Strip and the targeting of terrorists and their sponsors.”
“Terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip will not be allowed by the Israeli government to influence public opinion in a location close to the Gaza Strip and pose a threat to the citizens of Israel. Israel’s enemies should know this: We will find you, and we will punish you “Lapid said this.
In response, Islamic Jihad has promised retaliation. As Palestinian resistance spokesman Daoud Shehab explained to Al Jazeera, the possibilities are endless. “All options are available,” he declared. “The battleground has been declared open… We may expect a strong response from the opposition. We won’t explain exactly how it will happen, but rest assured that it will.”
The call-up of 25,000 reservists ordered by Gantz on Friday night signals Israel’s readiness for a full-scale assault.
Defense Ministry officials say the immediate call-ups will be used to strengthen Israel’s southern command, which encompasses the Gaza Strip, as well as the units that operate Israel’s aerial defense systems, among other deployments.
Sderot, a town in southern Israel, and several nearby communities heard warning sirens of impending rocket fire late Friday evening. An hour or so ago, sirens went off near Tel Aviv in Bat Yam and near the Ashdod-Tel Aviv border in Yavne. With no reports of Israeli casualties, Israeli media said that many rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system.
According to an Israeli army spokesman, Palestinian militants had fired 118 rockets against Israel by Friday night local time into Saturday morning (5 p.m. ET on Friday).
The army reported that eleven of the launches had failed to cross the border dividing Gaza from Israel, indicating that they had landed within the Gaza Strip.
The rest, according to the military officer, were either intercepted or landed in open regions.
For its part, the Israeli army claims it has continued to target members of the Islamic Jihad operating in Gaza, including a rocket launch pad located not far from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. The military has also said that it is conducting airstrikes against weapons manufacturing facilities.
Israel and Islamic Jihad, the other major militant group in Gaza, are at war, and Hamas, which rules that territory, appears to be treading gingerly.
However, in recent speeches, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has not threatened assaults or warned of revenge for the latest escalation he blames on Israel. As a result, they have focused on the role of international mediators and Hamas’s involvement in peace talks.
Israel is solely to blame for the ongoing escalation in Gaza, a Hamas statement reported Haniyeh as saying early Saturday. Israel’s continuous shelling of the beleaguered Gaza Strip must end immediately, according to Haniyeh, who spoke with senior Egyptian intelligence officers over the phone.
It was previously reported by Hamas that Haniyeh and Qatar’s Foreign Minister spoke via phone to end the violence.
The May 2021 conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorists was the fourth such conflict in 13 years, and Hamas was definitely in the driver’s seat. The 11-day battle was sparked by a pretext for launching rockets toward Jerusalem based on the rising violence in and around the Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
According to Tor Wennesland, the UN’s Middle East envoy, he is very disturbed by the escalating escalation between the two sides.
Wennesland called on all sides to avoid further escalation after a five-year-old child was killed, saying that “no justification for any strikes against people” and that “the launching of missiles must end immediately.”
As a mediator between Israel and Palestinian terrorists, the United Nations, together with Egypt, has frequently played a vital role when hostilities have broken out.
According to Wennesland, the UN is “actively engaged” with all parties concerned to prevent the situation from worsening further. However, he noted, “the parties are responsible for preventing this from happening.”
Israeli forces raided Jenin, a West Bank town in the occupied West Bank, on Monday night and nabbed top Islamic Jihad commander Bassam al-Saadi.
According to the Israeli military, a 17-year-old Palestinian affiliated with Islamic Jihad was killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli soldiers during the operation. Israeli soldiers, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, shot him in the head.
Israel reported that Saadi was one of two wanted terrorists it had captured during the assault. Anti-Israeli violence has inspired the Quds Brigade, the militant element of the Islamic Jihad movement.
After a series of deadly attacks by Palestinian gunmen in and around Jenin, Israeli forces have carried out several operations in the area in recent months. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 30 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli operations so far this year.