Israeli Airstrikes Risk 'All-Out War'

At least 8 are killed, 40 hurt in Gaza; Israel says it was targeting Islamic Jihad
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 5, 2022 12:52 PM CDT
Israeli Launches Airstrikes on Gaza Due to 'Imminent Threat'
An Israeli soldier secures tanks in an area near the border with Gaza Strip on Friday.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

(Newser) – Israel unleashed a wave of airstrikes in Gaza on Friday, killing at least eight people, including a senior militant, and wounding another 40, according to Palestinian officials. Israel said it was targeting the Islamic Jihad militant group in response to an "imminent threat" following the arrest of a senior militant in the occupied West Bank earlier this week. The strikes risk igniting yet another war in the territory, which is ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas and is home to about 2 million Palestinians. The assassination of a senior militant appeared likely to draw rocket fire from Gaza, pushing the sides closer to all-out war. A blast could be heard in Gaza City, where smoke poured out of the seventh floor of a tall building on Friday afternoon, per the AP.

The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the toll, saying a 5-year-old girl was among those killed. It didn't say whether the others were militants or civilians. Islamic Jihad said Taiseer al-Jabari, its commander for northern Gaza, was among those killed. He'd succeeded another militant killed in an airstrike in 2019. An Israeli military spokesman said it launched the strikes in response to an "imminent threat" from two militant squads armed with anti-tank missiles. The spokesman said al-Jabari was deliberately targeted and had been responsible for "multiple attacks" on Israel. The military also announced a "special situation" on the homefront, with schools closed and limits placed on other activities in communities within 50 miles of the border.

Islamic Jihad is smaller than Hamas, but both groups are opposed to Israel's existence and have carried out scores of deadly attacks over the years. It's unclear how much control Hamas has over Islamic Jihad, and Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza. "The Israeli government will not allow terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip to ... threaten the citizens of the State of Israel," Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement. A Hamas rep said, "the Israeli enemy, who started the escalation against Gaza and committed a new crime, must pay the price and bear full responsibility for it."

(Read more Gaza Strip stories.)

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