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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Israel and rebels exchange fire after attacks in Gaza

GAZA CITY ( Associated Press) — Israeli warplanes struck rebel positions in Gaza early Saturday as shells rained down on southern Israel, hours after a wave of airstrikes struck the coastal region and a major insurgent leader. Including at least 11 people were killed. Five year old girl.

The confrontation began on Friday with Israel’s dramatic targeted attack that killed a top commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group and continued through the night, bringing both sides closer to a near-perfect war.

But Hamas, the group that rules the strip, shied away from the conflict and contained its intensity, at least for some time. Israel and Hamas have fought four wars and several minor battles for the coastal region’s two million Palestinian residents over the past 15 years.

The latest round of violence between Israel and Gaza began this week with the arrest of a senior Islamic Jihad official in the West Bank as part of a month-long Israeli operation in Palestinian territory. Citing a security threat, Israel then cut off roads around Gaza and killed the rebel in a targeted attack on Friday.

A plume of smoke rose from the seventh floor of a tall building after an explosion in Gaza City. Videos released by the military showed attacks on three guard towers where fighters were reportedly present.

In a televised address to the nation, Interim Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said his country launched attacks based on “concrete threats”.

“This government has a zero-tolerance policy for any attack from Gaza into Israeli territory,” he said. “As long as there are people who are trying to harm its citizens, Israel will not sit idly by.”

“Israel is not interested in a wider conflict in Gaza, but it will not shy away from one,” he said.

The violence is a test for Lapid, who took office as interim prime minister until the November elections, in which he wishes to re-validate the position.

The centrist, a former television host and author, has experience as a diplomat after serving as foreign minister in the outgoing government, but has little security credentials. A conflict in the strip could solidify his position and propel him into the race against former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who led the country through three of his four wars with Hamas.

Hamas also faces a dilemma about whether to wage a new war after the past year, which caused widespread devastation. There has been practically no construction since then and the isolated coastal region is mired in poverty with an unemployment rate of around 50%.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said a 5-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman were among those killed in the bombing, and did not differentiate between civilian victims and fighters. The Israeli army is estimated to have killed about 15 rebels. Dozens of others were injured.

Islamic Jihad said one of the dead was Taisir al-Jabri, the commander of northern Gaza.

According to an Israeli military spokesman, the operation responded to an “imminent threat” from two rebel squads armed with anti-tank missiles. The spokesman, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the attack on al-Jabri was deliberate because he was responsible for “multiple attacks” against Israel.

Hundreds of people marched to the funerals of the dead, many carrying Palestinian and Islamic Jihad flags, shouting for revenge.

Israeli media showed images of the sky in the south and center of the country, published by missiles and interceptors of the Israeli Iron Dome air defense system. It was not clear how many rockets were fired and no casualties were immediately reported from the Israeli side.

Overnight Israel attacked rocket launchers, missile manufacturing sites and Islamic Jihad targets. In addition, it arrested 19 Islamic Jihad rebels in the West Bank, according to the military.

The UN special envoy for the region, Tor Venesland, indicated that “the rocket fire must stop immediately and I call on all sides to refrain from moving.”


Goldenberg reported from Tel Aviv, Israel.

World Nation News Desk
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