Multiple casualties in major Gaza escalation – local officials — Analysis

The Israel Defense Forces launched strikes on residential area in Gaza on Friday, in response to the alleged threat of assault by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). One of the group’s top members was killed. Local officials also say that the IDF attack left several civilians dead and dozens injured. 

Video footage captures smoke rising from densely packed residential areas of the Palestinian enclave after Israeli forces launched airstrikes. In a statement, the IDF said that the attack was launched following “the direct threats posed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.”

The mission was named ‘Operation Breaking Dawn’ by the IDF.

Friday’s strikes killed senior PIJ operative Taysir al-Jabari, the IDF claimed. Al-Jabari’s predecessor, Baha Abu al-Ata, was killed in an Israeli airstrike in 2019.

Palestinian health officials also claim that at least seven people were killed in the strikes, including a five-year-old girl. According to them, at least 40 others were also injured.

“We will not retreat and we will not hesitate,” PIJ Secretary-General Ziyad Al-Nakhala said in response to al-Jabari’s death.

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Israeli officials warned the group for many days, warning them that they were planning to attack Israel using anti-tank missiles as well as sniper fire. This warning was issued after Israeli forces captured Bassem Saidi, the leader and founder of the PIJ. He was taken into custody in Jenin West Bank. A Palestinian teenager was killed in the raid on Saadi’s home.

In a statement, the PIJ stated that it had declared a state “alertness”The raising of the “readiness”in support. Israel prevented gatherings from Gaza’s borders for 80km (50miles), alerted Gazans about possible rocket fire and blocked all roads to Gaza.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited the IDF’s Southern Command on Thursday and issued a warning to Palestinian militants, saying “the threat will be removed one way or another.”

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