Israelis and Palestinians trade fire for second day
- Gaza’s health ministry said 24 people had been killed so far in the coastal strip, including six children, reports India Today.
Israeli aircraft struck Gaza and Palestinians fired rockets at Israel on Saturday after an Israeli operation against the Islamic Jihad militant group ended more than a year of relative calm along the border.
Israel launched an operation against Islamic Jihad on Friday, killing one of the group’s senior commanders in a surprise daytime air strike on a high-rise building in Gaza City and drawing rocket salvoes in response. Further escalation would largely depend on Hamas, the Islamic militant group which controls Gaza, and whether it would opt to join the fighting.
The Israeli strikes have killed 11 Palestinians, including at least four more Islamic Jihad militants and a child, and have wounded at least 80 people, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Islamic Jihad did not provide precise details on how many of its members had been killed. The Israeli military said its jets targeted two militants preparing to launch rockets in a fresh strike on Saturday.
Overnight it apprehended 19 Islamic Jihad militants in raids in the Israeli-occupied West Bank while targeting the group’s rocket manufacturing sites and launchers in Gaza. Palestinian militants have fired at least 160 rockets over the border, the military said, some deep into Israel, at cities near the commercial hub Tel Aviv.
Most of the missiles were intercepted and a few people were lightly injured while running to shelters. Egypt, the UN and Qatar are attempting to mediate an end to the violence “but no breakthrough yet”, according to a Palestinian official with knowledge of the matter.
Islamic Jihad signalled no immediate ceasefire. “The time now is for resistance, not a truce,” a group official told Reuters. Around 2.3 million Palestinians are packed into the narrow coastal Gaza Strip, with Israel and Egypt tightly restricting the movement of people and goods in and out of the enclave and imposing a naval blockade, citing security concerns.
The frontier had been largely quiet since May 2021, when 11 days of fierce fighting between Israel and militants left at least 250 in Gaza and 13 in Israel dead. The UN envoy Tor Wennesland said he was deeply concerned about the violence and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority condemned Israel’s attacks.