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5-year-old Islamic Jihad leader among 15 dead; Rockets were fired in response MPNRC News

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A senior Islamic Jihad militant and a five-year-old boy were killed on Friday after the Israeli army launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, killing more than 15 people, prompting Israel to declare “a war against our people”. .

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“We are estimating around 15 casualties in the operation,” army spokesman Richard Hecht said via AFP. “We’re not done yet,” he added, describing it as a “premeditated attack” targeting a senior Islamic Jihad commander.

Israeli forces bombed targets linked to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza. At least seven people, including a five-year-old boy, were killed and 40 injured in the attack, local health officials told media.

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“The IDF is currently attacking the Gaza Strip. A special situation has been declared on Israel’s home front,” the army said in a statement. A senior commander in the movement, Taysir al-Jabari, was killed in attacks on several targets around the densely populated strip, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad official said.

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Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the air strikes on Gaza were a “precision” operation to counter an “immediate threat”. “Israel took precise counter-terrorist action against the immediate threat,” Lapid said in a televised address, as retaliatory rocket fire into Israel from Gaza began.

The attack followed heightened tensions following the arrest of Palestinian militant leader Bassam al-Saadi during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin earlier this week.

It then closed all Gaza crossings and some nearby roads for fear of reprisals from the group, which has a strong stronghold in Gaza.

The attack has prompted vows of retaliation from the militant group, which has said it may hit Tel Aviv in retaliation.

In a statement broadcast on Al Mayadeen Television, a pro-Iranian Lebanese channel, Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhla vowed to avenge the attack. “There are no red lines in this battle and Tel Aviv, as well as all Israeli cities, will come under the rockets of the resistance,” he said.

Islamic Jihad also said that Israel had “started a war against our people”.

“We must defend ourselves and our people together. We will not allow the enemy’s strategy of resistance and undermining our national resilience,” the group said in a statement.

Attacks resume

Hours after the attack, Israel resumed airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, AFP quoted military and Palestinian witnesses as saying. “The IDF (Israeli army) continues to target Palestinian Islamic Jihad military targets throughout the Gaza Strip,” it said in a statement.

Palestinian witnesses reported seeing several attacks, including one east of Gaza City.

Gaza strikes back

Palestinian militants fired rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, seen by AFP correspondents in Gaza City. Rocket fire has set off warning sirens in communities across Israel following deadly airstrikes by Israeli forces on Gaza.

Gaza, a narrow strip of land where about 2.3 million people live on a patch of 365 square kilometers (140 square miles), has been a point of constant conflict since Hamas took control of the area in 2007.

Israel has fought five conflicts with Gaza since 2009, the most recent being an 11-day war in May 2021, when Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel and Israel carried out airstrikes.

(With input from Reuters, AFP)

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