On Friday, the Israeli military launched airstrikes on targets in the Gaza Strip, killing the leader of an Islamist militant group and at least nine people, as well as provoking retaliatory rocket attacks on Israeli communities.
The attacks followed days of threats from militants in Gaza after Israel arrested an Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank earlier in the week, and threatened to return to open warfare just a year after hundreds of people were killed in fighting between Israel and militants in the enclave. .
The Palestinian Health Ministry said at least 10 people were killed and 55 wounded in the two initial strikes, one in Gaza City and the other in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza. The video posted on social networks shows that at least one multi-storey building has suffered significant damage.
— Gaza Report – اخبار غزة (@gaza_report) August 5, 2022
According to a statement by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Taysir al-Jabari, one of the leaders of the Islamic Jihad, was among those killed. A 5-year-old girl was also killed, the ministry said.
The Israel Defense Forces announced shortly after the strikes that they had attacked Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza as part of an operation dubbed “Dawn.” According to Palestinian media reports, the first strikes were apparently carried out by the leaders of the Al-Quds brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad.
A representative of the Israeli military said that their planes struck after detecting threatening movements of militant forces and equipment, including anti-tank units. According to him, the IDF acted in the expectation that Israeli citizens in the region would become targets of retaliatory strikes, and put the central part of the country on alert.
The militants were “bending over and moving very close to the border,” said Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht. “We’ve taken the initiative and we’re not done yet.”
“We assume that there will probably be several rocket attacks on the center of the country,” Hecht said. The Israel Defense Forces said it was calling in reserve soldiers to support its forces in the Southern Command near Gaza.