In a series of rocket attacks across Gaza, at least 10 individuals were killed—among them an Islamic Jihad commander and a young girl—and 55 others were injured.
Gaza City – At least 10 individuals were killed in an airstrike by Israel on the embattled Gaza Strip on Friday, including an Islamic Jihad group commander and a small girl.
According to the organization, Taysir al-Jabari, a commander of the al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad’s military wing, was killed in an airstrike on an apartment in the Palestine Tower in the heart of Gaza City.
Al-Jabari and a five-year-old girl were among the at least 10 persons who died, according to the Gazan health ministry. The Israeli raids left at least 55 individuals injured and are currently receiving medical attention in hospitals.
The building in Gaza City’s seventh story began to spew smoke. Teams from civil defense rushed to the location to rescue victims and extinguish a fire that the attack had started.
“After having Friday lunch, my kids started playing. Unexpectedly, a massive explosion struck the tower where we reside. We took off. The noise was very loud. Since there are so many people there, we were quite shocked. A resident who had blood on his clothes told Al Jazeera, “I saw numerous casualties that were evacuated.
Multiple blasts could be heard and seen throughout Gaza. Israeli reconnaissance drones could be heard hovering over the besieged enclave.
The southern areas of Khan Younis and Rafah, as well as the al-Shuja’iya neighborhood, were also targeted.
Air strikes resumed in the eastern Gaza Strip, with Israeli fighter jets flying above the densely populated city on Friday evening, according to Al Jazeera’s Youmna al-Sayed.
The attacks come after days of tension with the Islamic Jihad following the arrest of senior Palestinian leader Bassam al-Saadi in Jenin, an occupied West Bank city.
They also came after days of border closures, including the closure of the Karam Abu Salem commercial crossing, which is in charge of supplying fuel to Gaza’s sole power plant.
The Islamic Jihad said in a statement, “The enemy has begun a war targeting our people, and we all have tmustd ourselves and our people, and not allow the enemy to get away with its actions aimed at undermining resistance and national steadfastness.”
Ghazi Hamad, a senior official for Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip, described the latest attack as “a brutal crime, a massacre committed by the Israeli occupation against our people.”
There is “no justification” for the attacks, according to Hamad, who also said that the Palestinian factions have the right to self-defense and “protect” their people.
He claimed that the Gazan factions had maintained “excellent coordination” and were looking at the “best course of action for the Palestinian people.”
Israel, in my opinion, has no interest in mediating anything. Mediation and peaceful negotiations have no place, according to Hamad. “Our people are anticipating the Palestinian resistance’s decision to act and retaliation.”
The Israeli army said earlier on Friday that it was attacking Gaza while also announcing that “a unique situation has been established on the Israeli home front.”
After a top member of the Islamic Jihad organization was detained in the occupied West Bank on Monday, Israel braced for a response by closing routes near Gaza earlier this week and sending forces to the border.
Hamas would react to Friday’s “escalation,” according to a statement from its spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum.
The Israeli adversary is to blame for the escalation against the Gazan resistance; it committed a new crime and is fully accountable for it, according to Barhoum.
“The resistance will use whatever means at its disposal to protect our people in the Gaza Strip and will not stop responding.”
An Islamic Jihad official in Gaza, Ahmed Mudalal, said the group had made demands on Israel through Egyptian mediators, including the release of the detained leader and another prisoner, a cessation of West Bank raids, and the lifting of the Gaza blockade. He stated that they have yet to receive a response.
Over the last 15 years, Israel and Hamas, which governs Gaza, have fought four wars and several smaller skirmishes.
On a visit to communities near Gaza on Friday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz stated that authorities were preparing “actions that will remove the threat from this region,” without elaborating.
“We will operate with internal resilience and external strength to restore routine life in Israel’s south,” he said. “We do not seek conflict, but we will not hesitate to defend our citizens if necessary.”