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Israeli airstrikes kill 12, injure 100 in Gaza

Jerusalem24 – A series of Israeli airstrikes on several locations in the Gaza Strip have killed at least 12 people including a 5-year-old girl and wounded nearly 100, according to the latest figures released by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

An Israeli airstrike that hit a residential building in Gaza City yesterday late afternoon killed amongst others 5-year-old Alaa Qadoom, and a 23-year-old woman.

An airstrike targeting agricultural fields near Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip this morning killed one man and injured five others.

The leader of the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Tayseer Al-Jabari, was also killed in last night’s attack.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad had been mulling a response since last Tuesday when Israeli undercover forces arrested a senior leader with the Islamic Jihad, Bassam Al-Sa’adi, during a violent raid on the West Bank city of Jenin. 16-year-old Dirar Al-Kafrini was shot and killed by Israeli forces during the raid.

Immediately after the raid, and after CCTV footage showing Israeli soldiers dragging Al-Sa’adi on the ground and setting an attack dog on him were widely diffused on Palestinian social media, Israeli authorities closed roads connecting Israeli towns in the so-called Gaza envelope, as well as beaches and summer camps near the Strip, in anticipation of an armed response from the Islamic Jihad.

Israeli residents complained they were not allowed to move around freely, and Israeli Member of the Knesset Osnat Mark said on Wednesday that “those in Gaza have learned how to paralyze Israel without firing a single rocket.”

By the time Israeli airstrikes were launched on Friday afternoon, no rockets had been fired from the Strip towards Israel.

This afternoon, Islamic Jihad announced they have launched 60 rockets in response since the first round of deadly Israeli airstrikes.

Videos shared on social media and in Israeli media show Israel’s Iron Dome intercepting a majority of the rockets, while sirens sounded in towns in and near the Gaza envelope, and streets in Tel Aviv were empty of traffic last night.

Sirens continue to sound in Israeli towns in the Gaza envelope and as far as Tel Aviv today, and many Israelis have taken refuge in shelters. Around half a dozen injuries have been reported by Israeli authorities.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced yesterday evening 25,000 reservists had been called up as the bombing campaign is expected to go on. Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked told the Israeli Channel 12 News: “We don’t know how this will play out, but this could take time. This could be a lengthy round [of conflict] and a hard one.”

The resistance factions in Gaza issued a statement last night affirming that Israel “is the one who started the aggression, and it bears full responsibility for the consequences.”

They also accused the Israeli government of launching an attack on Gaza due to the upcoming Israeli general elections in November, and “exporting its internal crises at the expense of Palestinian blood to serve its political agenda.”

Protests have been taking place across the West Bank since last night, including in Ramallah where the summer festival Weyn A’ Ramallah was indefinitely postponed in honour of the victims in Gaza.

The United Nations’ special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, said there was “no justification” for Israel’s attack on Gaza.

Wennesland said that the “UN is fully engaged with all concerned in an attempt to avoid a further conflict which would have devastating consequences, mainly for civilians.”

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