The Palestinian health ministry said that Israeli military strikes killed one of Islamic Jihad’s senior leaders and 10 others in Gaza. The strike injured at least 75 more people. Israel insists most of those killed were militants.
The Israeli army said it had targeted two anti-tank squads en route to carrying out an attack on Israeli forces in Gaza. A “special situation” had been declared in anticipation of possible rocket fire.
The Israeli government said it would not allow terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip to set the agenda in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and threaten the citizens of the State of Israel. The leaders of Islamic Jihad have vowed to respond.
“All options are open, with all means that the Palestinian resistance has, whether in Gaza or outside,” spokesman Daoud Shehab said on Al Jazeera. “The battlefield is open … The resistance will respond with all force. We will not say how, but it is inevitable.”
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz authorized the call-up of 25,000 reservists on Friday evening, signaling Israel’s preparedness for a full-scale escalation. Sirens indicated incoming rocket fire in the southern town of Sderot and other villages close to Gaza.
The Israeli army has continued to strike Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, including a rocket-launching site near the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis. Hamas has condemned the Israeli action, and the UN has called on both sides to avoid further escalation.
Friday’s strikes come after Israeli forces captured a senior Islamic Jihad commander, Bassam al-Saadi, in a raid on Monday night. A 17-year-old Palestinian linked to Islamic Jihad was also shot dead in the raid.
For more on this story, please consider these sources:
- Israel Strikes Gaza as Tensions Rise: Live Updates The New York Times
- LIVE: Explosions heard in Gaza, after Israeli air strike Reuters
- Israeli airstrikes in Gaza kill 9, including senior lslamic Jihad leader CNN
- Gaza: Palestinian commander killed as Israel strikes after militant threats BBC
- Air traffic in and out of Ben Gurion Airport diverted away from Gaza amid fears of retaliatory rocket fire The Times of Israel