Gaza Flare-up, Day 2 |

Live Updates: Gaza Death Toll Rises to 29, Israel Kills Second Top Islamic Jihad Commander

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A fireball erupts as a result of an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza City on on Saturday.
Mourners attend the funeral of senior commander of Islamic Jihad militant group Khaled Mansour and other Palestinians, who were killed in Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, Sunday.
Palestinians salvage belongings from the rubble of their home, following Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, Sunday.
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A fireball erupts as a result of an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza City on on Saturday.Credit: Ashraf Amra / AFP
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Mourners attend the funeral of senior commander of Islamic Jihad militant group Khaled Mansour and other Palestinians, who were killed in Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, Sunday.Credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS
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Palestinians salvage belongings from the rubble of their home, following Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, Sunday.Credit: MAHMUD HAMS - AFP

Lapid meets with Netayahu to discuss security situation

Lapid meets with opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Office Sunday morning for a security update.

Netanyahu said after the meeting that he "fully supports" the government and security forces and urged southern Israeli residents to continue following the Home Front Command's directives. He added that he offered advice during the meeting about handling the current conflict.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid and opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu during a security briefing, Jerusalem, on Sunday.Credit: Haim Tzach/ GPO

IDF says 140 Islamic Jihad targets hit since beginning of operation in Gaza

The IDF says it has hit 140 targets since the beginning of the Israeli operation in Gaza, including a senior official of the Islamic Jihad. In addition, the Israeli army reported strikes on an attack tunnel,10 outposts and military positions,10 rocket launch pits and one weapon warehouse.

Top Islamic Jihad officer killed during the night, attack tunnel targeted in Gaza

The IDF confirms that Khaled Mansour was killed during the night in an attack along with two fellow militants, also senior officers, and was the last top Islamic Jihad official in Gaza. He was the counterpart of Jabari, the southern commander of the organization. In addition, an attack tunnel, reportedly built by the Islamic jihad, was targeted by the Israeli army during the night, although it did not cross into Israeli territory, but was located near the Rafah area.

The Islamic Jihad confirmed the death of the three officials, and added that four more civilians were killed in the attack, "including two women and a child who were taken out from under the rubble."

About 20 members of the Islamic Jihad were arrested throughout the West Bank, in the Jenin refugee camp and one of the organization's senior officers was arrested in the West Bank.

Top Israeli army official: 'All top Islamic Jihad security officials in Gaza have been assassinated'

Maj. Gen. Oded Basyuk, head of Operations Directorate in the Israel Defense Forces, told the press that "all top Islamic Jihad security officials in the [Gaza] Strip have been assassinated" on Saturday.

Earlier in the evening, Israel reportedly killed Khalid Mansour, the head of the Islamic Jihad's military wing in the southern Strip. Islamic Jihad later confirmed his death, saying his body was found under the rubble at the site of the strike.

On Friday, Israel assassinated Islamic Jihad official Tayseer al-Jabari, head of the organization's military wing in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israel reportedly assassinates another senior Islamic Jihad official in Gaza

An Israel Defense Forces official says the army assassinated a senior military official from Islamic Jihad in Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday evening.

At least 40 others were injured in the attack, according to Palestinian reports.

The official in question, Khalid Mansour, is the head of the Islamic Jihad's military wing in the southern Strip.

On Friday, Israel assassinated Islamic Jihad official Tayseer al-Jabari, head of the organization's military wing in the northern Gaza Strip.

Islamic Jihad has yet to respond to the reports.

At least five Palestinians, including kids, reported killed in incident in refugee camp

At least five Palestinians have been killed, including four children, and several more injured by a strike near a mosque in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza, according to local reports.

The dead were aged five, nine, ten and 11 and 19, with Palestinian media laying the blame with Israel.

The Israel Defense Forces said that it did not carry out any attacks on Jabalya refugee camps, and said that the deaths were caused by an errant Islamic Jihad rocket.

"We have videos that prove beyond doubt that this is not an Israeli attack," the head of Israel's public diplomacy said, though they will not imminently publish the evidence.

The total number of Palestinians killed since the conflict between the IDF and Islamic Jihad erupted on Friday stands at 20.

350 rockets launched from Gaza into Israel so far, 162 of them were intercepted

About 350 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel since the beginning of its military operation on Friday and until 6.30 P.M. on Saturday, according to IDF data.

Of these, 227 rockets actually crossed the border into Israel, while 94 of them landed within the Gaza Strip. 162 of the rockets were intercepted by the IDF. It was also reported that 29 rockets landed in the sea.

Far-right lawmaker Ben-Gvir to go up to Temple Mount on Sunday

Israel Police will permit Jews to ascend the Temple Mount on the fast day of Tisha B'Av on Sunday, including far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir.

The police held a situational assessment on Saturday evening amid Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip, with fears that a conflagration in Jerusalem could cause the conflict to spiral.

Lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir photographed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem with the Temple Mount in the background.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

The Religious Zionism lawmaker coordinated his visit for the holy day, slated for 8.30 A.M., ahead of time with the police: "We cannot surrender to Islamic Jihad – we are the landlords in Israel. The more we feel and act this way, the enemies will get the message."

The fragile religious status-quo permits Jewish access to the site, but only allows Muslims to pray there. In recent years, Jewish extremists have prayed at the compound in greater numbers.

Egypt pushing for Israeli ceasefire before Sunday, official says

A senior Egyptian official with knowledge of the ceasefire talks between Israel and Islamic Jihad said he hopes Israel will agree to a ceasefire "as soon as possible," amid fears of escalation as scores of Jews are set to ascend the Temple Mount on Sunday.

According to the source, Egypt is exerting pressure on Israel in hopes that a ceasefire will be declared "tonight or early in the morning," in order to ensure tension levels are low as religious Jews make their way to the Temple Mount.

"If there are more deaths in the Gaza Strip [tonight], and tomorrow morning events unfold in the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, it will be difficult to control the situation and prevent a deterioration into a larger conflict." the source said, referring to the events of Tisha B’Av — a holiday in which religious Jews mourn the destruction of the two ancient temples, and which has become politically-charged in recent years.

The official also stressed that a ceasefire must be agreed upon in as soon as possible because Hamas' decision to stay out of the conflict is not guaranteed to last much longer. "Currently, we are managing to stop Hamas from intervening, and this is a window of opportunity," the official said. "Every hour that passes only increases the pressure, and the fear of losing control."

According to the source, Egypt is directing its diplomatic efforts on pressuring Israel to agree to a ceasefire first, and only then will it call for the Islamic Jihad to follow suit. "After two or three days of quiet," the Egyptian plan for the ceasefire stipulates, "will we be ready to move on and discuss the easing of restrictions [on Gaza] and other humanitarian concerns."

The Egyptian mediators in the talks even sent messages to Israel that they expect their proposal to be brought up for discussion in the Israeli cabinet this evening: "We are in a difficult situation but there is still a possibility to prevent the expansion of the cycle of violence," adding that "every death in Gaza will only increase the pressure on Hamas [to join the fight], in addition to the humanitarian situation which is getting worse. We hope that Israel will be attentive and verify our proposal tonight."

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sissi said on Saturday that Egypt is "making great efforts with all parties involved to restore calm and peace to the Gaza Strip," and that talks are being held "around the clock". Cairo, Al-Sissi said, has "an interest in preventing the escalation and deterioration of the situation."

100 people demonstrate against Gaza fighting in Tel Aviv

Around 100 people gathered on Saturday in two locations in Tel Aviv to protest Israel's strikes on the Gaza Strip as part of the evolving military operation against Islamic Jihad.

People hold signs at a demonstration against Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip in Jaffa on Saturday.Credit: Hadas Parush

Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and chanted "free Gaza." Several demonstrations were also held on Saturday in the country's north and in the center of Jerusalem.

U.S. 'fully supports' Israel amid Gaza escalation, but urges calm from both sides

The Biden administration has expressed full-throated support of Israel amid the escalating conflict with Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, while calling on all sides to avoid further violence.

"We're actively engaged with Israeli, Palestinian and regional partners to work toward achieving calm in the wake of these strikes, and we certainly urge all sides to avoid further escalation," National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said.

Russia blames Israel for round of Gaza violence, calls for de-escalation

Russia's Foreign Ministry censured Israel for instigating the flare-up in the Gaza Strip in its statement on the recent escalation between Israel and Islamic Jihad.

Spokeswoman of Russia's Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said that "Russia is very concerned about the new outbreak of armed violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," adding that Russia "observes with deep concern these developments, which may result in the renewal of large-scale fighting and the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza."

In the statement, Zakharova places the blame for the uptick in violence on Israel: "What provoked the current escalation was the bombings by the Israeli Air Force on August 5, to which the Palestinian groups responded with indiscriminate shelling into Israeli territory."

"We call on all parties involved to exercise maximum restraint, to prevent an escalation of the fighting and to immediately return to a stable ceasefire," the message reads.

The statement concludes with Russia reaffirming its support for the two-state solution, but unlike their statements on past escalations, it omits any mention of Israel's security: "We emphasize once again that putting an end to the circle of violence is only possible within the framework of negotiations, the result of which should be the realization of the legal national rights of the Palestinian people the establishment of an independent [Palestinian] state within the 1967 borders."

Israel's emergency service reports 21 injuries since start of Gaza operation

Magen David Adom emergency service reported on Saturday that 21 people have been evacuated to hospital since Israel kicked off its military campaign on the Gaza Strip.

Two people were lightly injured from shrapnel, 13 people sustained injuries while running for shelter from rockets and six people experienced panic attacks, according to the emergency service.

Turkey condemns 'unacceptable' Israeli airstrikes

Turkey's Foreign Ministry issued a statement "strongly condemning" that Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, stating it is "unacceptable that civilians, including children, have lost their lives during the attacks."

"We are deeply concerned by the escalating tensions in the region following the strikes. We stress the necessity for these incidents to end immediately," the ministry added.

Islamic Jihad send volley of rockets toward central Israel, sirens sound in Tel Aviv

A barrage of rockets was fired by Islamic Jihad toward central Israel on Saturday evening, with sirens sounding in Tel Aviv and locals reporting loud hearing explosions overhead.

Sirens have been blaring throughout the day along the Gaza border, the Judean Foothills, and in the coastal cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod.

Israel's Iron Dome air defense system intercepts a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip, above the southern Israeli city of Sderot on Saturday.Credit: Jack Guez/AFP

No injuries have been reported so far from this round of missiles, though material damage to property and vehicles was reported in Ashkelon.

At least 350 rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip since Friday, not including the most recent volley of rockets, after Israel launched a military operation against Islamic Jihad and began shelling the Palestinian enclave.

Gantz charges Islamic Jihad is 'disconnected from its own people'

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Saturday that the Israeli army has assassinated "many terrorists who planned to launch rockets and mortars into Israel" since its military operation on Gaza was launched.

Gantz, who visited the Iron Dome battery outside the Gaza Strip, added that "We have hit dozens of Islamic Jihad military installations that are used for the production and launch of rockets." Gantz also said that "the leadership of the Islamic Jihad that sits abroad in restaurants and hotels in Tehran, Syria and Lebanon, is disconnected from its own people and seriously harms the lives and livelihoods of the residents of Gaza — they will also pay the price."

Security sources: No plan to restrict Jewish access to Temple Mount amid Gaza tensions

Israel has no intentions to prevent Jewish access to the Temple Mount in light of the escalation with the Gaza Strip on Sunday for the fast day of Tisha B’Av, security officials said.

The Temple Mount, also known as the Al-Aqsa compound, is sacred to both Jews and Muslims, and incidents at the holy site have intensified broader conflagrations between Israel and the Palestinians in the past.

The fragile religious status-quo permits Jewish access to the site, but only allows Muslims to pray there. In recent years, Jewish extremists have prayed at the compound in greater numbers.

The security sources, however, conceded that the situation could change by Sunday.

Scores protest Gaza military operation in northern Israel

Dozens of people are taking part in demonstrations in Haifa, as well as in Umm al-Fahm and the Wadi Ara area in the north against Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip.

In Haifa, the protest numbered around 40 people, including members of the Knesset for the majority-Arab Joint List.

The demonstrators waved Palestinian flags, signs protesting the operation and pictures of some of the victims killed in Friday's attacks.

Analysis | Israel Should End Gaza Operation Now, if It Can

With their back to the wall, Israel’s leaders have decided to take the military initiative, hoping to extricate the country from the bind Islamic Jihad has forced it into in Gaza. Israeli communities along the Gaza border were placed under partial lockdown for three days, fearing Islamic Jihad retaliation for the arrest of one of its leaders in the West Bank, leaving the Israeli government without many other options.

Click here to read the full analysis.

Palestinian Health Ministry: Gaza death toll rises to 15

Fifteen people have been killed in Gaza and another 125 injured since Israel launched its military operation on the Strip, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported on Saturday.

The ministry also stated that there is a 40 percent shortage of equipment and basic medicines, and a 60 percent shortage of laboratory equipment.

"Due to the shutdown of the power plant, time is running out regarding the provision of medical services in the hospitals, with an almost complete shutdown within 72 hours," it said.

Gaza rocket hits Sderot house; only material damage reported

A rocket launched from Gaza landed inside a house in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, the municipality said Saturday afternoon.

Damage caused to a house in Sderot by a rocket launched from Gaza, on Saturday.Credit: Credit: Sderot Municipality
Gaza rocket intercepted over the southern city of Sderot, on Saturday.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The house residents were staying at a bomb shelter and only material damage was reported.

Iran Guards say Israel facing 'heavy price' for attacks in Gaza

The commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said that Israel would pay a high price for its latest attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza, Iranian state TV reported.

"The Israelis will pay yet another heavy price for their recent crime," it quoted Major General Hossein Salami as saying in reference to Israeli air strikes on Gaza, as he met with Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhala who is currently in Iran.

Mansour Abbas: 'We have no influence on foreign relations and security issues in Israel'

Following attacks against him on social networks by his political opponents, United Arab List chairman Mansour Abbas said Saturday that his party has no influence on foreign affairs and security issues in Israel.

In a post he published in Arabic, Abbas wrote that the Arab parties have no influence on foreign and security decisions in Israel and that anyone who claims otherwise "is selling illusions to the public." Abbas's words and the attack against him come against the backdrop of the primary election for the UAL Knesset list on Saturday.

According to Abbas, it is for this reason that over the years the Arab MKs avoided membership in the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee and abstained from any vote on issues related to foreign affairs and security. "We are ready to be partners in the decisions of calm and peace and our approach is that our role as Knesset members is to take care of issues that directly concern the Arab public and its rights," he wrote.

Islamic Jihad says 60 rockets fired at Israel since Saturday morning

Islamic Jihad's military wing said that 60 rockets were launched at Israel since Saturday morning. The militant group added that the rockets were fired at Ben-Gurion international Airport, Ashdod, Be'er Sheva, Ashkelon and Netivot.

"We've launched a campaign against the Israeli aggression and the Islamic Jihad fighters are prepared to continue the war," the organization said in a statement.

Large fires erupt at Israel's south, one sparked by mortar shell

Three large fired broke out in the area between Sderot and the Gaza Strip.

A mortar shell landed near a plant in the Eshkol Regional Council, sparking a large fire there. Firefighting teams later managed to bring the flames under control.

שריפה בעוטף עזה

Two other conflagrations broke out in kibbutz Nir Am and the area between kibbutz Erez and the Gaza border, and teams are still battling to subdue the flames.

Two Israeli soldiers lightly wounded by Gaza mortar shells in south

Two Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded by mortar shells in the Eshkol Regional Council in the country's south.

The soldiers were hit by shrapnel and taken to the hospital to receive medical attention.

Rocket sirens were activated again in the Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Sderot, as well as across communities along the Gaza border.

Rocket siren heard in south, central Israel

Rocket sirens blared in the central Israeli city of Modi'in and the southern city of Ashdod, sending Israelis to bomb shelters.

Meanwhile, Palestinians reported that the Israel Defense Forces struck a compound south of Gaza City in the Strip.

A compound destroyed in an Israeli attack in Gaza, on Saturday

Gantz orders to continue attacks on Islamic Jihad targets

Defense Minister Benny Gantz instructed the Israeli army to continue targeting Islamic Jihad cells and foil rockets attacks from the Gaza Strip.

Israeli tanks along the Gaza border, on Saturday.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Earlier, Gantz held a situation assessment with the attendance of Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and other senior defense officials.

Gaza power plant to shut down at noon due to fuel shortage

Gaza's lone power plant will shut down at noon due to diesel shortage resulting from the closure of the crossings to the Strip over the past week, according to the enclave's electricity authority.

Power supply to households in the Strip will resume after 12 hours and will be shut down again after four hours.

IDF: 160 rockets fired at Israel, 30 Islamic Jihad targets hit

The Israeli military struck some 30 Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav says, as operation Breaking Dawn enters its second day. Israeli aircraft and tanks targeted and destroyed five rockets launchers, as well as six weapon production workshops and several Islamic Jihad observation posts, he added.

Kochav said that 10 Palestinians were killed and 80 were wounded in the strikes. No Israeli casualties were reported and Home Front Command instructions remain unchanged.

According to the Israeli army, some 160 rockets were fired toward Israel from the Strip so far, with 60 of them intercepted. Israel's Iron Dome Defense system intercepted 95 percent of the rockets launched from the enclave, Kocahv said, with some of the them not reaching Israeli territory.

Kochav noted that the IDF is preparing for the operation to last for a week and added that Israel is not holding any negotiations for a ceasefire at the moment.

Rocket sirens heard near Gaza border

After a few relatively quiet hours for Israelis living near the Gaza border, sirens were activated in the kibbutz of Kerem Shalom, near the Egyptian border, as well as Kissufim.

U.S. Secretary of Defense: 'Israel has a right to self-defense', civilian casualties need a 'timely and thorough investigation'

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz following the escalation in the Gaza Strip on Friday evening.

The U.S. Department of Defense said that "the Secretary received updates on IDF strikes targeting Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip and steps the Government of Israel is taking to protect its citizens from rockets launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip."

"He underscored Israel's right to self-defense and the enduring U.S. commitment to Israel's security. Secretary Austin urged steps to de-escalate the situation. He also expressed concern regarding reports of civilian deaths and called for a timely and thorough investigation into any civilian casualties."

Five Israelis taken to a hospital due to siren-related injuries

Five Israelis were taken to the hospital following siren-related injuries, including four who were injured while making their way to a shelter and one who suffered from anxiety. Three additional people received treatment from paramedics due to similar injuries.

UN Envoy reacts to Gaza strikes: "No justification for any attacks against civilians"

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, reacted to the situation in Gaza, saying he is "deeply concerned" by the escalation between the Israelis and Palestinians, including the "targeted killing today of an Islamic Jihad leader."

Wennesland added that he was "deeply saddened by reports that a five-year-old child has been killed in these strikes. There can be no justification for any attacks against civilians."

Wennesland called on both sides to prevent further escalation, saying 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."

Over 100 rockets fired from Gaza, about 60 reached Israel

More than a hundred rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip so far Friday, with about 60 crossing into Israel. More than a quarter fell inside Gaza.

Palestinian rockets fired from in Gaza City in retaliation to earlier Israeli airstrikes, today.Credit: MOHAMMED ABED - AFP

Islamic Jihad leadership in West Bank calls for attacks on Israel

Islamic Jihad's leaders in the West Bank have announced a state of "high alert" and called for their followers to attack Israeli targets, following the assassination of one of the organization's leading figures in the Gaza Strip.

Since the call, armed Islamic Jihad supporters held a rally in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Israel killed Tayseer al-Jabari, the head of the organization's military wing in northern Gaza, in an airstrike earlier Friday, alleging that he was on the way to carry out an attack on Israelis.

Islamic Jihad had been threatening retaliation for the arrest this week of one of its senior officials in the West Bank, Bassam al-Saadi.

Israel resumes Gaza strikes after rocket fire

The Israel Defense Forces said it resumed its strikes on the Gaza Strip on Friday evening, targeting two warehouses and a rocket launch pad belonging to Islamic Jihad.

According to Palestinian reports, Israel is carrying out further airstrikes in the city of Beit Hanoun and eastern Gaza.

Israeli jets strike an Islamic Jihad site in Gaza City.

PM Lapid says Israel's Gaza operation 'will take as long as it needs'

Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Israel's military operation against the Gaza Strip "will take as long as it needs," as the first rockets were fired into Israel since its attacks on the enclave began Friday.

Lapid added that Israel "will not accept any ultimatum on the activities of the IDF and the security forces, even in other arenas. Anyone who needs to be arrested will be arrested. Anyone who tries to harm civilians and soldiers will be met with a heavy hand. The operation in Gaza was against concrete threats to harm the residents of the south. Israel doesn't want a campaign in Gaza, but isn't afraid of it either."

Rocket sirens sound in Israel for first time since military op launched

Militant groups from Gaza fired rockets at several locations in Israel on Friday – including the central cities of Rishon Letzion and Bat Yam as well as Gaza-border towns – after Israel launched a military operation targeting Islamic Jihad and killed one of its leaders in the Strip.

Ashdod and Sderot, two cities bordering the Gaza Strip, faced heavy rocket fire, with Ashdod reporting that most of the rockets were shot down by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. No injuries were reported.

Sirens also sounded in the central city of Yavneh, as well as Rishon Letzion and Bat Yam, two suburbs of Tel Aviv.

Gaza residents cheer as Islamic Jihad fires missiles into Israel, today.

Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the rocket strikes, claiming that it fired "more than 100 missiles" as retaliation for the assassination of Tayseer al-Jabari, the head of the organization's military wing in northern Gaza. Israel says al-Jabari was plotting an attack on Israelis.

Bomb shelters opening across Israel

Public bomb shelters across Israel have opened Friday in anticipation of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

These include southern cities such as Ashdod, Sderot and Be'er Sheva, which normally face the heaviest onslaught due to their proximity to the enclave, but also several central Israel cities. The Tel Aviv municipality said that "shelters will open automatically" if there are sirens.

Israel calling up as many as 25,000 reservists, sending reinforcements to Gaza border

Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that the military will call up as many as 25,000 reservists, according to its needs, in light of the escalation with militants in the Gaza Strip.

The reservists will be from the Home Front Command, the air force and the Southern Command, as well as troops in other combat and administrative roles.

Earlier Friday the Israeli military announced that it was moving the Golani Brigade and the Armored Corps to the Gaza border.

Israeli soldiers on the Gaza border Friday.Credit: Jack Guez/AFP

Senior IDF official says rocket fire expected, operation 'will take time'

A senior Israel Defense Forces official said Friday the defense establishment expects rocket fire from the Gaza Strip in retaliation for attacks on Islamic Jihad, and warned that the operation "will take time."

Palestinian mourners carry the bodies of two of the victims killed earlier in an Israeli air strike, during their funeral in Gaza City, today.Credit: MAHMUD HAMS - AFP

Israel renews strikes on southern Gaza Strip

The Israel Defense Forces killed "several" Islamic Jihad operatives in artillery strikes on the southern Gaza Strip on Friday evening, hours after at least eight people, including a senior Islamic Jihad official and a 5-year-old girl, were killed in the first Israeli airstrikes of its new military operation.

The attacks took place between Khan Younis and Rafah in southern Gaza, according to Palestinian reports.

The IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi also ordered the military to go into "a state of emergency" and open its Supreme Command Post.

Egyptian official says mediation efforts haven't stopped

An Egyptian official told Haaretz that mediation between Israel and Gaza was still underway, with the focus now on preventing Friday's violence from escalating.

He said the Gaza factions' response to the number of dead and wounded would set the pace for further reactions by Israel.

Who was the assassinated Islamic Jihad official?

The Islamic Jihad official who was killed in the attack on Gaza has been identified as Tayseer al-Jabari, the head of the organization's military wing in the northern Gaza Strip.

According to the Israeli army, al-Jabari held senior positions in the organization including head of operations, and was in charge of coordination with Hamas.

According to a statement from the Israel Defense Forces, al-Jabari had recently been pushing for the use of anti-tank fire against Israeli military and civilian targets.

During the 2019 conflict between Israeli and Gaza, he oversaw rocket launches into Israeli territory and was responsible for an incident in which a military jeep was hit and a civilian was injured.

Islamic Jihad chief: 'Tel Aviv will fall under the rockets of resistance'

Islamic Jihad chief Ziad al-Nakhala said: "This is a day destined for victory, and the enemy must understand that there will be a war without surrender. ... The resistance fighters must stand as one. "There are no red lines in this battle and Tel Aviv will fall under the rockets of resistance, as well as all Israeli cities,"

"We will certainly have martyrs in the campaign," al-Nakhala added. "We will go on to the end. ... Israel is continuing its violations in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Tomorrow Israel plans to invade the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The resistance will survive this war with courage and heroism, and God willing, the victory will be a gift to the Palestinian people."

Reuters contributed to this report.

Israel assassinates senior Islamic Jihad leader in strike

The Israel Defense Forces killed a senior Islamic Jihad official in strikes on Gaza on Friday, after days of threats by the militant group brought the area near the enclave to a standstill.

The Islamic Jihad official is Tayseer al-Jabari, head of the organization's military wing in the northern Gaza Strip.

Head of Islamic Jihad's military wing in the northern Gaza Strip, Taysir al-Jabari.

Israeli army dubs new operation Breaking Dawn

The Israel Defense Forces has announced that the new Gaza operation will be called Breaking Dawn and will focus on Islamic Jihad sites in the Strip.

Rescuers and firefighters put out a fire amid the destruction following an Israeli air strike on Gaza City, today.Credit: MOHAMMED ABED - AFP
This picture shows the damage caused by an Israeli air strike in the 'Palestine building' in on Gaza City, today.Credit: MAHMUD HAMS - AFP

Lapid and Gantz held security meetings ahead of attacks in Gaza

Ahead of the strikes, Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz held meetings to assess the security situation in Gaza.

"To our enemies in general and to the heads of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, I say explicitly: Your time is limited," Gantz said at the end of the meeting. "The threat will be eliminated one way or another. The situation in which irresponsible terrorists, some of whom aren't even in the area, took the residents of Gaza hostage will come back and bite them."

Israel strikes the Gaza Strip after days of Islamic Jihad threats

Israeli jets struck the Gaza Strip on Friday after days of threats from Islamic Jihad brought the area around the enclave to a standstill.

Israel had set up roadblocks in areas near the Strip for a fourth straight day and declared a "special situation" on the home front after Islamic Jihad threatened retaliation for this week's arrest of one of its senior officials in the West Bank, Bassam al-Saadi.

Israeli strike at Palestine Tower in the Gaza Strip, today.

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