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Israel launches week of Gaza ‘operations’ after militants fired rockets in response to deadly airstrike

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Rockets are fired by Palestinian militants into Israel. Picture by Mohammed Salem

Rockets are fired by Palestinian militants into Israel. Picture by Mohammed Salem

Rockets are fired by Palestinian militants into Israel. Picture by Mohammed Salem

Israel yesterday said it would launch a “week of operations” against Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the Gaza Strip.

Its response comes after more than 160 rockets were fired from the enclave towards Israeli towns in response to airstrikes.

The rockets, fired by PIJ and other militant groups on Friday night, were retaliation for an Israeli attack on Gaza earlier that day that killed a military commander, Tayseer Jabari, and a five-year-old girl.

Israeli said it had struck pre-emptively after several days of threats from militant groups in Gaza, who were angered by the arrest of a senior Islamic Jihad figure in the West Bank earlier last week.

Palestinian officials in Gaza said the death toll had risen to 15 with 125 wounded.

There have been no serious injuries on the Israeli side, with most rockets falling into open areas or being intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.

Gaza’s only power plant was closed due to a lack of fuel after Israel shut border crossings, jeopardising electricity supplies for Gaza’s 2.3 million residents.

It came as Israel said it had arrested 19 Islamic Jihad members in the occupied West Bank, where troops also arrested the group’s West Bank commander, Bassem al-Saadi, last Tuesday.

The arrest of al-Saadi prompted furious protests from Islamic Jihad leaders in Gaza and threats towards Israel.

Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, has expressed solidarity with Islamic Jihad fighters but has not joined the fighting.

Reports suggest Israeli leaders have indicated they are only interested in striking Islamic Jihad targets.

Hamas is said to be wary of getting involved as its priority is governing the Gaza Strip.

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Egyptian mediators have reportedly been dispatched to Gaza and Tel Aviv to broker a ceasefire, but neither side seemed ready to begin talks.

The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said the group was with Palestinians “until the end”.

© Telegraph Media Group Ltd (2022)

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]


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