APTOPIX Israel Palestinians
Rockets fired by Palestinian militants toward Israel, in Gaza City, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed at least 10 people, including a senior militant, and wounded 55 others. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Israeli strikes on Gaza kill 10, including senior militant


Israel unleashed a wave of airstrikes in Gaza on Friday, killing at least 10 people, including a senior militant, and wounding dozens, according to Palestinian officials. Israel said it was targeting the Islamic Jihad militant group in response to an “imminent threat” following the arrest of another senior militant in the occupied West Bank earlier this week.

Palestinian militants launched a barrage of rockets hours later as air raid sirens wailed in central and southern Israel, pushing the two sides closer to all-out war. Islamic Jihad claimed to have fired 100 rockets.

Israel and Gaza's militant Hamas rulers have fought four wars and several smaller battles over the last 15 years at a staggering cost to the territory's 2 million Palestinian residents.

A blast was heard in Gaza City, where smoke poured out of the seventh floor of a tall building on Friday afternoon. Video released by Israel's military showed strikes blowing up three guard towers with suspected militants in them.

In a nationally televised speech Friday night, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said his country had launched the attacks based on “concrete threats.”

“This government has a zero tolerance policy for any attempted attacks — of any kind — from Gaza towards Israeli territory,” Lapid said. "Israel will not sit idly by when there are those who are trying to harm its civilians."

He also added that “Israel isn’t interested in a broader conflict in Gaza, but will not shy away from one either.”

The violence poses an early test for Lapid, who assumed the role of caretaker prime minister ahead of elections in November in which he hopes to keep the position. He has experience in diplomacy, having served as foreign minister in the outgoing government, but his security credentials are thin.

Hamas also faces a dilemma in deciding whether to join a new battle — barely a year after the last war caused widespread devastation. There has been almost no reconstruction since then, and the isolated coastal territory is mired in poverty, with unemployment hovering around 50%.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said a 5-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman were among those killed in Gaza, without differentiating between civilian and militant casualties. The Israeli military said early estimates were that around 15 fighters were killed.

Islamic Jihad said Taiseer al-Jabari, its commander for northern Gaza, was among those killed. He had succeeded another militant killed in an airstrike in 2019. Hundreds marched in a funeral procession for him and others who were killed, with many mourners waving Palestinian and Islamic Jihad flags and calling for revenge.

Israeli media showed the skies above southern and central Israel lighting up with rockets and interceptors from Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. An explosion was heard in Tel Aviv. It wasn't immediately clear how many rockets were launched and there was no immediate word on any casualties on the Israeli side.

Israel continued to strike other targets Friday, including weapons production facilities and Islamic Jihad positions.

The U.N. special envoy to the region, Tor Wennesland, said he was “deeply concerned by the ongoing escalation,” and expressed sadness for the killing of the 5-year-old girl.

“The continuing escalation is very dangerous,” he said. “The launching of rockets must cease immediately, and I call on all sides to avoid further escalation.”

Following the initial Israeli strikes, a few hundred people gathered outside the morgue at Gaza City's main Shifa hospital. Some went in to identify loved ones, emerging later in tears. “May God take revenge against spies,” shouted one, referring to Palestinian informants who cooperate with Israel.

An Israeli military spokesman said the strikes were in response to an “imminent threat” from two militant squads armed with anti-tank missiles. The spokesman, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said al-Jabari was deliberately targeted and had been responsible for “multiple attacks” on Israel.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved an order to call up 25,000 reserve soldiers if needed while the military announced a “special situation” on the home front, with schools closed and limits placed on activities in communities within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of the border.

Israel had closed roads around Gaza earlier this week and sent reinforcements to the border as it braced for a revenge attack after Monday's arrest of Bassam al-Saadi, an Islamic Jihad leader, in a military raid in the occupied West Bank. A teenage member of the group was killed in a gunbattle between the Israeli troops and Palestinian militants.

Israel and the Hamas fought four wars since the militant group seized power in the coastal strip from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. The most recent was in May 2021, and tensions again soared earlier this year following a wave of attacks inside Israel, near-daily military operations in the West Bank and tensions at a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site.

Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhalah, speaking to Al-Mayadeen TV network from Iran, said “fighters of the Palestinian resistance have to stand together to confront this aggression.” He said there would be “no red lines” and blamed the violence on Israel.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said “the Israeli enemy, which started the escalation against Gaza and committed a new crime, must pay the price and bear full responsibility for it.”

Islamic Jihad is smaller than Hamas but largely shares its ideology. Both groups are opposed to Israel's existence and have carried out scores of deadly attacks over the years, including the firing of rockets into Israel. It's unclear how much control Hamas has over Islamic Jihad, and Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a tight blockade over the territory since the Hamas takeover. Israel says the closure is needed to prevent Hamas from building up its military capabilities, while critics say the policy amounts to collective punishment.

Mohammed Abu Selmia, director of Gaza's Shifa hospital, said hospitals faced shortages after Israel imposed a full closure on Gaza earlier this week. He said there were enough supplies and essential drugs to sustain hospitals for five days in normal times, but that with a new round of fighting underway, “they may run out at any moment.”

Israel called off an expected fuel delivery for Gaza's sole power plant, which was expected to shut down early Saturday if the fuel did not enter the territory. Even when the plant is running at full capacity, Gazans still endure daily power outages that last several hours.

Earlier Friday, a couple of hundred Israelis protested near the Gaza Strip to demand the return of the remains of two Israeli soldiers held by Hamas.

The protesters were led by the family of Hadar Goldin, who along with Oron Shaul was killed in the 2014 Gaza war. Hamas is still holding their remains, as well as two Israeli civilians who strayed into Gaza and are believed to be mentally ill, hoping to exchange them for some of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Israel says there can be no major moves toward lifting the blockade until the soldiers’ remains and captive civilians are released. Israel and Hamas have held numerous rounds of Egyptian-mediated talks on a possible swap.

Krauss reported from Ottawa, Ontario. Associated Press reporter Ariel Schalit in Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, Israel, and Tia Goldenberg in Tel Aviv, Israel, contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


Comments have been disabled You can no longer respond to this thread.

It’s not stolen or occupied land, it’s been assigned from the international community after WW2. But the real point is, that Israelis are obviously capable of running a country democratically and are intelligent enough to build a strong economy and make high tech innovations that sell on the global market. Now guess what the Palestinians are capable of, exactly, shooting, bombing and terror on own and neighboring territory and even destroying everything if they got something paid and built up from all other countries. They live just from that eternal cycle from getting support or infrastructure, then destroying it with terror and then begging for the next round of international help. There’s just no own effort to stop it and build something substantial and innovative and enduring for the own future.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Mossad have a sort of slogan that they must be the best because the option (being annihilated as a country) is unthinkable. If separatist Israelis, i.e. the Palestinians, would stop their violence and practice nonviolent methods, they would see progress.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

How do Zionists sleep at night?

In their warm beds on stolen land, behind high concrete walls, armed soldiers in guard-posts.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Israel does not want change. Just keep the Palestinians banged up in Gaza while they take over the West Bank.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This seems to acknowledge an Israel state to me

Not according to Hamas

Gaza suits the Israeli more than the Palestinians.

Well, no change will happen

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

In 2017 Hamas adapted its policy to that seeking a Palestinian state based on the 1967 pre war border.

This seems to acknowledge an Israel state to me

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Gaza suits the Israeli more than the Palestinians.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Occupation SUCKS , Freedom ROCKS. Israel must end it's occupation of Palestine and live by international rules and laws.

Yes, once Hamas recognizes Israel as the Jewish State and declares a ceasefire and tries not to dispose and call for the destruction of the Jewish people. Once they do that and commit to peace then by all means should the Israelis stop the occupation. It’s up to Hamas how they want to play this. So far, history hasn’t looked favorable on them and the outcome.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Occupation SUCKS , Freedom ROCKS. Israel must end it's occupation of Palestine and live by international rules and laws.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Hamas has only itself to blame. Israel will do what it has do to survive. They’re never going to win at trying to displace the Israelis.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

The Palestinians have every right to Resist this miserable Occupation and Gaza Blockade.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

So sad for Palestinian people.

Israel has abused his country & its people for so long and gets away with because they have the money to grease the political machines in the USA.

So sad.

Israel and the Hamas fought four wars since the militant group seized power in the coastal strip from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.

The militant group Hamas did not "seize power" as that term is normally used, they won the election. They would not win elections if Israel would respect international law and stopped their 70+year brutal occupation, land theft in Palestine. Then everyone could live in peace.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

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