Israeli airstrikes hit targets across Gaza on Friday, killing a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired dozens of rockets into Israel in response.
As darkness fell, Israeli authorities said sirens had been sounded in southern and central areas, while images broadcast by Israeli television stations appeared to show a number of missiles being shot down by air defense systems. In Tel Aviv, Israel’s economic center, witnesses said they could hear booms but there were no reports of sirens.
Islamic Jihad, a group with a similar ideology to Hamas, the terrorist group in charge of Gaza, said it had fired more than 100 rockets on Friday into Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv. Israel’s ambulance service said there were no reports of casualties.
Earlier, local health officials in Gaza said at least 10 people, including a five-year-old child, had been killed and 55 wounded in the Israeli airstrikes.
An Israeli spokesperson said the strikes had killed Islamic Jihad commander Tayseer al-Jaabari and around 15 “terrorists” but said the military did not have a final casualty total.
“Israel carried out a precise counter-terror operation against an immediate threat,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a televised statement in which he pledged to do “whatever it takes to defend our people.”
“Our fight is not with the people of Gaza. Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy that wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis,” he said.
The Israeli military said in a Twitter post that its war planes targeted Islamic Jihad sites in Gaza that “severely affect the organization’s ability to develop military capabilities.”
New Video: IDF of strike which killed Palestinian Islamic Jihad military commander in northern Gaza Tayseer al-Jabari pic.twitter.com/M5ut1zmcTQ
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) August 5, 2022
An Islamic Jihad official confirmed that al-Jaabari, whom the Israeli military described as the main coordinator between Islamic Jihad and Hamas, had been killed in the strikes, which hit several targets around the strip.
The strikes came after Israel arrested Bassam al-Saadi, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad group, during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin earlier this week.
It subsequently closed off all Gaza crossings and some nearby roads over fears of retaliation from the terrorist group, which has a stronghold in Gaza.
Israel’s military said Defense Minister Benny Gantz had approved plans to call up 25,000 reservists following the strikes, signaling that Israel expected an extended confrontation.