Israel strikes Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza
JERUSALEM/GAZA – The Israeli military launched deadly strikes against Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza on Friday as tensions continue to rise between Israel and Palestinian militant groups.
Islamic Jihad said in a statement that one of its senior leaders, Tayseer Al Jabari, had been killed in an Israeli strike. He was a commander in the Quds Brigade, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, the group said, and a member of its Military Council.
The Palestinian health ministry said at least seven people were killed, including a five-year-old girl, and another 40 were injured. A CNN producer in Gaza saw medics carrying two bodies out of a building called the Palestine Tower that had been hit in one of the strikes.
An Israeli army statement announcing the military action made clear it was targeting Islamic Jihad, the smaller of the two main militant groups in Gaza. A “special situation” has been declared in areas around Gaza, in anticipation of possible rocket fire, or other retaliatory attacks, the army said.
The strikes come days after Israeli forces captured a senior Islamic Jihad commander, Bassam al-Saadi, during a raid in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin. A statement from Islamic Jihad said: “The enemy has begun a war targeting our people, and we all have the duty to defend ourselves and our people, and not allow the enemy to get away with its actions which are aimed at undermining the resistance and national steadfastness.” Hamas, the militant group which controls Gaza, has condemned the Israeli action. “The Israeli enemy, who started the escalation against Gaza and committed a new crime, must pay the price and bear full responsibility for it,” spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said.