Reuters. In the midst of Israel-Gaza combat, smoke rises during an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on August 6, 2022. Ibraheem Abu Mustafa for Reuters by Maayan Lubell and Nidal al-Mughrabi
JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – On Saturday, after an Israeli operation against the violent Islamic Jihad group brought an end to more than a year of relative calm along the border, Israel attacked in Gaza and Palestinians fired rockets at Israeli cities.
One of the group’s senior commanders was killed by Israel on Friday in a surprise afternoon airstrike on a tall structure in Gaza City, which triggered retaliatory rocket fire.
Israel said on Saturday that it had attacked militant bases and Islamic Jihad rocket launchers. According to witnesses, additional bombings targeted five homes and caused massive clouds of smoke and debris to rise into the air as explosions shook Gaza City.
At least 160 rockets fired from across the border by Palestinian terrorists sounded air raid sirens and forced people to flee to bomb shelters as far away as Modiin, a city in central Israel between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Islamic Jihad claimed to have attacked Ben Gurion Airport, Israel’s primary international entry point, but the rocket was shot down near Modiin, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) away, and the Civil Aviation Authority reported that the airport was open as usual with modified flight schedules.
According to the Israeli ambulance service, the majority of the missiles were intercepted and there were no reports of serious casualties.
The United Nations, Qatar, and Egypt were all working to put an end to the violence. The decision of Hamas, the Islamic militant organization in control of Gaza, to join the conflict would determine how far the conflict escalated.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 110 individuals have been injured as a result of the Israeli airstrikes, which also claimed the lives of at least four additional Islamic Jihad terrorists and one child.
Islamic Jihad gave no specific information regarding the number of its members who had died and gave no indication of an impending cease-fire. A group official told Reuters that “the time is now for resistance, not a truce.”
The Israeli military reported that during overnight raids in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which also targeted the group’s rocket manufacturing facilities and launchers in Gaza, it had captured 19 Islamic Jihad terrorists.
CONCERNED BY U.N. ENVOY
In the tiny coastal Gaza Strip, which is home to 2.3 million Palestinians, Israel and Egypt have imposed a naval blockade and severely restricted the flow of people and goods due to security concerns.
Shortly before it struck on Friday, Israel halted the planned fuel delivery to Gaza, crippling the region’s only power plant, cutting electricity to only 8 hours per day, and prompting health experts to issue warnings that hospitals would be badly harmed within days.
Since May 2021, when Israel and militants engaged in 11 days of violent combat that claimed at least 250 lives in Gaza and 13 lives in Israel, the border had been fairly quiet.
The Palestinian Authority, which receives support from the West, denounced Israel’s attacks, and U.N. Mideast envoy Tor Wennesland expressed his grave concern about the carnage.
On a Saturday afternoon, the streets of Gaza were practically vacant. Glass, furniture, and debris were all over the roadway where Tayseer al-Jaabari, a senior Islamic Jihad commander, was assassinated.
Mariam Abu Ghanima, a 56-year-old neighbor, claimed that unlike past instances of violence, the Israeli military did not offer a warning prior to the strike.
Using precision methods to target a particular floor of the structure, the surprise attack avoided civilian casualties, according to a military official.
According to Army Radio, Israel has implemented extra security measures in its southern areas near Gaza and is getting ready to mobilize about 25,000 military personnel. As a result, the streets in border towns were deserted.
Tensions increased this week after an Islamic Jihad commander was detained by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, prompting threats of vengeance from the organization.
According to Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Friday’s airstrikes prevented Islamic Jihad, which is supported by Iran and has been labeled a terrorist organization by the West, from launching an immediate and direct attack.
According to some Israeli political observers, Lapid had the chance to improve his security credentials before the election on November 1 as a result of the military operation.