Rays of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, seen from Ashkelon.
Salvoes of rockets were fired on Friday from the Gaza Strip to Israel, after Israeli strikes targeting the armed group Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian enclave where fighters and civilians, including a child, died.
More than 100 rockets were launched by the Al-Quds brigades towards Israeli soil, shots presented by this armed branch of Islamic Jihad as a first response to the Israeli strikes which notably killed one of the leaders of the group, Tayssir Al-Jabari.
Warning sirens sounded in several locations in southern Israel, but no information was immediately available about any ;possible victims.
The Israeli army estimated that it killed 15 Islamic Jihad fighters in Gaza in its strikes that began in the afternoon and continued into the evening.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza reported ten dead, including a five-year-old girl, and 55 injured.
The Jewish state presented its raids as a preemptive strike against Islamic Jihad, according to an Israeli military spokesman, Richard Hecht.
Israel conducted a precise counterterrorism operation against an immediate threat, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on television. Islamic Jihad is a proxy for Iran that wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis. […] We will do whatever it takes to defend our people, he added.
The first salvo of strikes notably targeted a residential area in the center of Gaza City. AFP journalists saw injured people being evacuated by the emergency services, firefighters working to put out fires and residents crowding into morgues.
Palestinians holding placards bearing the likeness of Islamic Jihad commander Tayssir Al-Jabari, killed in an Israeli airstrike.< /p>
Hundreds of people attended the funeral of Tayssir Al-Jabari in Gaza in the evening, an AFP team found.
The Zionist enemy started this aggression and should expect us to fight relentlessly,” Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ziad al-Nakhala said in an interview with Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV in the Iranian capital Tehran. /p>
“There will be no red lines in this battle […] Tel Aviv and other Zionist cities will be targets of resistance missiles.
— Ziad al-Nakhala, Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad
The raids on the territory of 2.3 million people, under Israeli blockade, come after the Monday arrest of an Islamic Jihad leader in the occupied West Bank, Bassem Saadi.
Since then, the Israeli authorities have feared reprisal attacks from Gaza, an enclave controlled by the Islamists of Hamas and where Islamic Jihad is well established.
The army had deployed nearby reinforcements, including tanks; roads had been blocked and trains removed.
“To our enemies, and particularly to the leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, I would like to insist: your time is running out. »
— Benny Gantz, Israeli Defense Minister
In Ramallah in the West Bank, the Palestinian presidency condemned Israeli aggression and held the Jewish state responsible for the dangerous escalation.
Israel has imposed a strict blockade on Gaza since 2007, a territory plagued by poverty and unemployment.
The Israeli army on Tuesday ordered the closure of border crossings, which forced thousands of Gazans, holders of work permits in Israel, to stay at home. The shutdown has slowed the delivery of diesel, needed to power Gaza's power station.
The only power station is at risk of closing due to a lack of fuel, it was reported on Thursday its director.
The 50 or so people who leave the enclave daily for treatment have also been affected, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).< /p>
Israel's latest strikes on Gaza targeted a Hamas position on July 19 after a shot fired from the enclave.
Israel and armed groups in Gaza have fought several wars, the last of which was in May 2021. Amid tensions that began in East Jerusalem, the 11-day war left 260 people dead. on the Palestinian side, including many fighters, and 13 dead in Israel, including a soldier, according to local authorities.