On Friday, rocket sirens could be heard in southern and central Israel as Palestinian “Jihad” in Gaza retaliated against Israeli airstrikes that killed at least ten Palestinians, including a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.
As night fell, Israeli authorities said that sirens had been heard in the southern and central sectors, and footage broadcast by Israeli television stations appeared to show a number of missiles being shot down by air defense systems.
Islamic Jihad, a militant group with a similar philosophy to Hamas, the Islamist movement in charge of Gaza, claimed responsibility for firing more than 100 rockets into Israeli cities on Friday, including Tel Aviv. There had been no reports of casualties, according to Israel’s ambulance service.
Earlier, local health officials in Gaza said at least 10 people were killed and 55 were injured in the Israeli airstrikes, which occurred after days of growing tensions following the arrest of a Palestinian militant leader earlier this week.
According to an Israeli official, the attacks killed Islamic Jihad commander Tayseer al-Jaabari and approximately 15 “terrorists” although the IDF did not have a final fatality figure.
“Israel carried out a precise counterterror operation against an immediate threat,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a televised statement, vowing to do “whatever it takes to defend our people”
“Our fight is not with the Gazans. Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy that seeks to destroy Israel and murder innocent Israelis “He stated.
An spokesperson from Islamic Jihad confirmed that al-Jaabari, who the Israeli military characterized as the chief coordinator between Islamic Jihad and Hamas, had been killed in the strikes, which targeted multiple locations in the heavily populated strip.
Smoke rose from the building where al-Jaabari was allegedly slain, and glass and rubble were thrown across the street as ambulances raced to other locations.
As mourners prepared to organize funerals for those killed in the attacks, hundreds of Palestinians marched through Gaza’s streets, some carrying Palestinian flags.
The strikes came after Israel detained Bassam al-Saadi, a prominent leader of the Islamic Jihad group, earlier this week during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.
It then closed all Gaza borders and some neighboring roadways, fearing retaliation assaults from the group, which has a stronghold in Gaza, further limiting Palestinian movement.
Israel’s military said Defence Minister Benny Gantz had approved plans to call up 25,000 reservists following the strikes, signalling that Israel expected an extended confrontation.