Israel attacks Gaza with airstrikes as tensions rise | News from Gaza

DEVELOPING STORY,

At least eight people were killed, including an Islamic Jihad commander and a girl, and 44 wounded in a series of missile strikes across Gaza.

gaza city – Israel attacked Gaza with warplanes on Friday, killing at least eight people, including an Islamic Jihad group commander and a girl.

Taysir al-Jabari, commander of the Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military wing, was killed in an airstrike on an apartment in the Palestine Tower in central Gaza City, the group said.

The Gaza Health Ministry said at least seven people were killed, including al-Jabari and a five-year-old girl. At least 44 people were injured and treated in hospitals as a result of the Israeli raids.

Smoke billowed from the seventh floor of the building in Gaza City. Civil protection teams went to the scene to evacuate people and put out a fire caused by the attack.

“We just had lunch on Friday and my children were playing. Suddenly, a huge explosion hit the tower we live in. We escaped. The sound was massive. We were very shocked as the place is full of civilians. I saw a lot of casualties that were evacuated,” a resident told Al Jazeera with blood covering his clothes.

Multiple explosions were heard and seen throughout Gaza. Israeli reconnaissance drones could be heard flying over the besieged enclave.

The attacks also hit the southern areas of Khan Younis and Rafah, as well as the Al-Shuja’iya neighborhood.

It followed days of tension with Islamic Jihad after the arrest of senior Palestinian leader Bassam al-Saadi in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

It also came after days of border closures, including the closure of the Karam Abu Salem commercial crossing, which is responsible for the flow of fuel needed for Gaza’s only power plant.

In a statement, Islamic Jihad said: “The enemy has started a war against our people, and we all have a duty to defend ourselves and our people, and not let the enemy get away with their actions that have with the objective of undermining the resistance and national firmness”.

Earlier on Friday, the Israeli army said it was attacking Gaza, adding that “a special situation has been declared on the internal Israeli front.”

Israel closed the roads around Gaza earlier this week and sent reinforcements to the border as ready for an answer following the arrest of a senior member of the Islamic Jihad group in the occupied West Bank on Monday.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said in a statement that he would respond to the “escalation” on Friday.

“The Israeli enemy is the one who started the escalation against the resistance in Gaza, and a new crime was committed, and he bears all the responsibility,” Barhoum said.

“The resistance will defend our people in the Gaza Strip with everything they have and will continue to fight back.”

‘external force’

Ahmed Mudalal, an Islamic Jihad official in Gaza, said the group had made demands of Israel through Egyptian mediators, including the release of the detained leader and another prisoner, an end to raids in the West Bank and the lifting of the gaza blockade. She said they have not received a response yet.

Israel and Hamas, which rules Gaza, have fought four wars and engaged in several minor skirmishes in the past 15 years.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited communities near Gaza on Friday and said 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 southern Israel,” he said. “We do not seek conflict, but we will not hesitate to defend our citizens, if necessary.”

Israel and Egypt have maintained a tight lockdown in Gaza for 14 years, and critics say the policy amounts to collective punishment of the two million Palestinian residents of the region.

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