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Israel Launches Air Strikes on Gaza, Killing 15 People, including a 5-year-old child and a senior militant; Islamic Jihad Threatens Retaliation

A senior Islamic Jihad militant and a five-year-old child were among more than 15 people killed on Friday. As Israel launched air strikes on Gaza Strip, prompting the group to declare that Israel had “started a war against our people”.

“We’re assuming about 15 killed in action,” army spokesman Richard Hecht told AFP. “We’re not done yet,” he added, describing the operation as a “pre-emptive strike” against an Islamic Jihad senior commander.

Israeli forces bombed Gaza targets linked to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement. At least seven people were killed, according to local health officials. And also 40 were injured in the strikes, including a five-year-old child.

“The IDF is currently striking in Gaza.” “On the Israeli home front, a special situation has been declared,” the military said in a statement. Tayseer al-Jaabari, a senior commander in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, was killed in the strikes. This statement is according to a Palestinian Islamic Jihad official.

Following the arrest of a Palestinian militant leader named Bassam al-Saadi earlier this week during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, tensions had been rising for days prior to the attack.

It then shut down all border crossings into Gaza as well as a few nearby roads out of concern for reprisal attacks from the group, which has a stronghold in Gaza.

The militant group has also threatened retaliation, stating that it may target Tel Aviv in response to the attack.

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Islamic Jihad leader statement

The leader of the Islamic Jihad, Ziad Al-Nakhala promised retaliation for the attacks in a statement that was aired on the pro-Iranian Al Mayadeen television channel in Lebanon. Tel Aviv, as well as all Israeli cities, “will fall under the rockets of resistance,” he declared. “There are no red lines in this battle.”

Israel, according to the Islamic Jihad, “started a war against our people.”

“We must all work together to protect our people and ourselves. The policy of the enemy to undermine the resistance and our country’s perseverance will not be tolerated, the group said in a statement.

Post Attacks

Hours after the attack, the Israel resumed air strikes on the Gaza Strip, the military and Palestinian witnesses were quoted as saying by AFP. “The IDF (Israeli military) is continuing to target Palestinian Islamic Jihad military targets throughout the Gaza Strip,” a statement said.

Palestinian witnesses reported seeing multiple strikes, including one east of Gaza City.

Gaza, a narrow strip of land where some 2.3 million people live on a patch of 365 square kilometers (140 square miles). That has been a constant point of conflict ever since Hamas took control of the area in 2007.

Israel has fought five conflicts with Gaza since 2009, the most recent an 11-day war in May 2021, when Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel and Israel pounded the strip with airstrikes.

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