Israeli forces have killed the military chief of the extremist Palestinian organization Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Taisir Al-Jabari died in the attack, the PIJ said on Friday.
After the targeted killing of Al-Jabari, several rockets were fired at Israel. Sirens could be heard in several cities as far south as the coastal city of Tel Aviv on Friday night. According to Israeli media reports, the rockets landed in open areas or were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
According to the Israeli military, al-Jabari was responsible for numerous rocket attacks from Gaza and planned attacks on civilians. Islamic Jihad is classified as a terrorist organization by the EU and the US.
According to Palestinian sources, at least ten people were killed in the large-scale military operation involving several airstrikes, including Al-Jabari and a five-year-old child. At least 55 people were injured.
A Hamas spokesman announced retaliation: “The occupation (Hamas’s term for Israel) has crossed the red lines.”
Israeli Prime Minister Jair Lapid said on Friday evening: “Israel is not interested in a broad operation in the Gaza Strip, but it is not afraid of it either.” and to threaten Israeli citizens”. Then he added: “Anyone who wants to attack Israel must know that we will get to him”
In 2019, Israel had already specifically killed al-Jabari’s predecessor, jihadi military chief Baha Abu al-Ata. This was followed at the time by massive rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip on Israeli locations and counterattacks by the Israeli Air Force in the coastal strip. After a few days, a ceasefire was agreed with the help of Egyptian and United Nations negotiators.
According to the Israeli army, ten other jihadists were targeted in addition to Al-Jabari in the airstrike. They are said to have prepared an attack against Israel. Military bases and buildings of the PIJ were also attacked in Gaza.
An increased level of security was announced on Friday for the Israeli areas around the coastal strip. Israeli attacks continued into the evening.
On Monday, Bassem Saadi, the leader of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, was arrested during an Israeli anti-terrorist operation. The organisation’s military arm, Saraja al-Quds, then threatened to attack.
The jihad is closely linked to Israel’s archenemy Iran and regularly carries out rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military cordoned off areas on the edge of the coastal strip for several days and increased the alert.
Around two million people live in the Gaza Strip under very poor conditions. Hamas, classified by the EU as a terrorist organization, violently seized power in 2007. Israel then tightened a blockade of the area, supported by Egypt. Both countries justify the measure with security interests.