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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Israel threatens to extend by a week its biggest attack in more than a year against Gaza

Israel has threatened to extend by a week its biggest offensive against the Gaza Strip since May 2021. Dozens of Islamic Jihad targets were destroyed on Friday and Saturday in the first days of the bombing, which has already claimed the lives of at least 24 Palestinians. Six children and two military leaders of the al-Quds brigade (the Palestinian group’s militias), and more than 200 were wounded. Islamic Jihad, which maintains close links with Iran, has responded by firing more than 400 rockets and projectiles into southern and central Israel, many of which have sounded alarm sirens in Tel Aviv and central Israel this Saturday.

Six civilians, including four minors, were killed on Saturday night in an explosion at the Jabalya refugee camp north of the strip. Islamic militias have accused Israel of armed action. The military denied that it had intervened in the area and attributed the blast to the fall of a faulty rocket fired by Islamic Jihad.

Egypt, with the support of Qatar and the United Nations, has been trying in the last hours in a mediation mission to reach a ceasefire between the opposing sides. A senior Egyptian military intelligence official traveled to Tel Aviv on Saturday and will continue his mission in the Palestinian enclave tomorrow, Reuters reports. Contrary to custom, the Islamic movement Hamas, which governs In fact For 15 years in a coastal enclave, it lives on the edge of hostilities. After more than a year of relative calm, Palestinian television networks showed Gaza’s streets remained deserted on Saturday morning as waves of Israeli airstrikes and artillery chased each other.

The Al Quds Brigade on Friday vowed to avenge the targeted killing of Commander Taisir al-Jabri, known as Abu Mahmoud, in the first Israeli strike on Friday. A missile struck his home in Gaza’s capital. According to Israel’s intelligence services, al-Jabri acted as a liaison with Hamas. In parallel, Israeli forces have captured 19 members of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank at dawn on Saturday. Another military chief, Khalid Mansoor, who was commanding a militia in the southern part of the strip, was killed on Saturday, according to an official military statement.

A report said Israel’s precision missile strikes destroyed rocket launch pads and weapons factories in Gaza. Spokesperson of the Armed Forces. Israeli health officials have not reported personal injuries caused by the rocket fire, with more than two dozen civilians falling as they rushed to protect themselves in anti-aircraft shelters. Two jawans suffered minor injuries due to the shrapnel of mortar. The military assured that a quarter of the rockets fired by Islamic Jihad did not hit Israel, and that 95% of the projectiles that were aimed at populated areas were also intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

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Egypt has also invited a delegation from Islamic Jihad to visit Cairo to negotiate a ceasefire. According to reports conducted by the Hebrew press, Cairo is trying to mediate a one-day ceasefire on Sunday, which coincides with the Jewish religious holiday. A spokesman for the Israeli military specified that, for the time being, no talks have been held for a ceasefire and that the offensive baptized as the Rise of Dawn continues. The General Staff, which has mobilized 25,000 reservists and moved two divisions to the Gaza border, warned the operation could last at least a week.

Palestinian Islamists have accused Israel of escalating tensions. “The Zionist enemy has launched this offensive and should expect a war without a quarter,” Ziyad al-Najala, the secretary general of Islamic Jihad, warned on the Lebanese television channel Al Mayadeen, close to the pro-Iran group Hezbollah. For his part, Israel’s prime minister, Yair Lapid, assured that he ordered a deterrent operation in the face of the “imminent threat” of a retaliatory strike by Islamic Jihad, which he called “an agent of Iran who seeks to destroy.” ” as described. Israel and kill innocent civilians. Lapid had already announced on Friday night that the awakening of Operation Dawn would last “till the time it would be”. Meanwhile, the antirocket alarm sirens don’t stop sounding in towns near the Strip.

The current offensive is reminiscent of the one launched in 2019 to bring down al-Jabari’s predecessor in the rank of military chief of the strip’s northern side, commander Baha Abu al-Ata. The Islamic movement Hamas has condemned the deaths of the leaders of Islamic Jihad, but, as it did three years ago, has refrained from interfering in the current escalation of the war. Instead, Hamas’ top leader, Ismail Haniye, has contacted Egyptian and Qatari mediators to demand that they end “Israeli crimes in Gaza”.

Preventive operation after infiltration in West Bank

Formally, the Israeli pre-emptive attack stemmed from fears of Palestinian armed retaliation for the arrest, earlier this week, of Bassam al-Saadi, the military chief of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, in the Jenin region (north of the occupation). Palestinian Territories). ) Islamic Jihad, according to reports in the Hebrew press, sought the release of its commander in the West Bank to prevent armed operations, in particular the firing of anti-tank missiles at Israeli vehicles, with which it attacked Israel. was threatened.

For centrist Lapid, who faces early elections in the fall, the election offensive against Islamic militias in Gaza could prove politically useful in bolstering his security position against his rival, the conservative Benjamin Netanyahu, who won four He has led three wars. fought in the bar in the last decade.

Gaza, a narrow regional band of 365 square kilometers with a population of 2.3 million residents, suffered the last large-scale Israeli attack in May last year. The invasion lasted 11 days and killed more than 250 Palestinians, including 67 minors, and another 13 in Israeli territory.

Israel on Tuesday sealed off all crossings under its control along the Gaza border. The state of maximum alert has isolated thousands of Israelis in the towns and kibbutz (collective farms) that border the strip. The Israeli military’s National Defense Command, which also includes civil defence, declared a “special situation” 80 kilometers around the Palestinian Strip, where neighbors must stay in safe places and road and rail communications are cut off.

The strict blockade of the Gaza Strip, along with the closure of all border crossings with Israel, has left the only power plant in the Palestinian enclave without a fuel supply, which barely meets a third of the enclave’s needs. The closure of the Erez crossing, which is only accessible to people between Gaza and Israel, has also deprived dozens of Gazan cancer patients, who cannot receive care in health centers in the Palestinian territory, of specialized treatment in hospitals in East Jerusalem. can do.

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World Nation News Desk
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