Beachgoers take cover in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv after rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip, on August 7, 2022. - An Islamic Jihad source that truce talks are taking place after three days of deadly fighting between the Gaza militants and Israel. (Photo by Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

Alarm sirens wailed in the Israeli coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv on Sunday evening. Residents of the Mediterranean city rushed to shelters. Dull explosions could be heard.

It was the first such alert in the city center since Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip began on Friday. Most recently, there were rocket attacks on Tel Aviv last year.

The Israeli military launched the “Dawn” military operation with airstrikes against Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip on Friday. The group, which is closely linked to Israel’s arch-enemy Iran, has been classified as a terrorist organization by the EU and the US.

Since then, Palestinian militants have fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli towns, according to the military. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, more than 30 people have died in the Gaza Strip since Friday and at least 275 have been injured

According to information from Egyptian security circles, Israel had previously agreed to a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip proposed by Cairo. Egyptian mediators are still awaiting a response from the militant Palestinian organization Islamic Jihad, security sources in Cairo said on Sunday.

A representative of Islamic Jihad confirmed the talks to the AFP news agency and stressed: “The resistance will not stop if the aggression and crimes of the occupiers do not stop”.

According to the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip, six children were among those killed in the Israeli attacks that have been ongoing since Friday. The Israeli authorities have disputed the death toll provided by the Palestinian authorities and blamed the deaths of several Palestinian children in Jabalia, in northern Gaza, on a failed Islamic Jihad missile operation.

Israeli Prime Minister Jair Lapid spoke of a “precise anti-terrorist operation against an immediate threat”. Islamic Jihad is an “assistance force of Iran that wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis”. According to the Israeli army, their attacks hit 139 Islamic Jihad positions. The entire top of Islamic Jihad’s military wing in the Gaza Strip has been “neutralized.”

Islamic Jihad is the second most powerful militant group in the Palestinian territories after Hamas, which rules in the Gaza Strip. It has close ties to Iran and keeps firing rockets at Israel.

According to Israeli sources, 40 members of Islamic Jihad, including two leaders of the radical organization, were arrested in raids in the West Bank in parallel with the air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

In Israel, two people were injured by rocket splinters as a result of the shelling from the Gaza Strip, according to the rescue service. Another 13 people were injured trying to get to safety.

Among other things, air raid sirens sounded on Sunday morning for the first time since the new escalation in Jerusalem, around 60 kilometers from the Gaza Strip, and Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for rocket attacks on the city.

According to the Israeli army, the Israeli missile protection shield Iron Dome intercepted the missiles, and overall this was successful with 97 percent of the missiles. On Saturday, air raid sirens also blared in the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv, and Islamic Jihad confirmed “extensive rocket attacks” on the city. As a result of the escalation, public life in the Gaza Strip almost came to a standstill.

The German government has expressed concern over the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East. The developments in the Gaza Strip and in Israel are “reason for great concern,” said a spokeswoman for the Federal Foreign Office on Sunday. “We condemn in the strongest terms the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns; he must stop immediately.”

Like any other state, Israel can invoke the right to self-defense, the spokeswoman underlined. “Civilians must never be the target of attacks.”

It is now a question of “preventing further escalation and maintaining the greatest possible restraint and the proportionality required under international law,” the spokeswoman warned at the same time.

Israel’s army says it has killed another military chief of the militant Palestinian organization Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Islamic Jihad’s southern commander Khalid Mansur was killed in an airstrike in the city of Rafah, the military said Sunday morning. Two other senior jihadists were also killed, including Mansur’s deputy.

“In the past few days, Mansur has been working on preparing an attack on Israel with an anti-tank missile and missiles,” the statement said. He is also responsible for terrorist attacks in the past.

On Friday evening, Israeli forces killed the military chief of the extremist Palestinian organization Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the Gaza Strip, Taisir al-Jabari. According to the military, the high-ranking commander was responsible for numerous attacks from the Gaza Strip. Militant Palestinians then responded with rocket fire.

The Islamic Jihad organization threatened retaliation for the deaths of the two senior commanders, stating: “The blood of the martyrs will not be wasted, and the holy warriors will not let that blood dry until they have bombarded the enemy’s settlements with their rockets.”

Another focal point emerged on Sunday. For example, Jews visited a large mosque compound in Jerusalem where they saw the remains of two ancient Jewish temples that they wanted to commemorate. Palestinians view such visits as a religious and political affront. This has often resulted in violent protests.

The Israeli military launched the large-scale “Dawn” military action against Islamic Jihad on Friday. The military chief Taisir al-Jabari and other PIJ members were killed. The group, which is closely linked to Israel’s arch-enemy Iran, has been classified as a terrorist organization by the EU and the US.

Israeli Prime Minister Jair Lapid said on Sunday, according to his office, that the operation would “continue as long as necessary”. Efforts are being made to ensure that bystanders are not harmed.

The Israeli government will not “allow terrorist organizations to set the agenda in the towns on the outskirts of Gaza and to threaten Israeli citizens.” Jair Lapid summed it up: “Anyone who wants to attack Israel must know that we will get to them.”

According to Palestinian sources, the only power plant in the Gaza Strip has been temporarily shut down due to a lack of fuel. “Due to the current circumstances and the lack of fuel, the power plant has been shut down,” the electricity company said in Gaza on Saturday.

The power supply in the Palestinian territory will therefore be reduced from twelve to four hours. Israel stopped importing fuel into the area on Monday, fearing attacks after the arrest of a Palestinian militant leader.

A power company official said the shutdown of the power plant would create a “catastrophic situation” in the Gaza Strip. The area had previously suffered from insufficient electricity. According to this, around 550 megawatts of electricity are needed every day to cover the needs of the approximately two million inhabitants. Most recently, however, only 180 megawatts were available.

As a result, the Palestinian Ministry of Health warned on Sunday that medical care in the Gaza Strip would be stopped within 48 hours. The reason for this is the shutdown of the power plant, the statement said. The emergency generators in the hospitals are already almost empty given the ongoing blockade of the crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Communities west of Jerusalem blared sirens Sunday morning warning of missiles. In addition, explosions could be heard, reported witnesses on site. This indicated that Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli territory continued for the third straight day on Sunday and were now targeting more distant areas. There were initially no reports of possible victims.

On Friday and Saturday, the radical Islamic Jihad fired around 190 rockets into Israeli territory. According to the Israeli military, most of them fell in open areas or were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Around 36 rockets landed inside the Gaza Strip.

A Hamas spokesman announced retaliation: “The occupation (Hamas’s term for Israel) has crossed the red lines.”

Palestinian leaders said Egypt, the United Nations and Qatar had begun mediation efforts to end the violence. So far, however, there has been no breakthrough.

“We hope to reach a consensus to return to calm as soon as possible,” an Egyptian security official told AFP in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip are to occupy the UN Security Council in New York on Monday. Diplomatic circles announced on Saturday that a meeting of the United Nations’ most powerful body had been requested by the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, France, Norway and China. A time has not yet been set. The meeting will take place behind closed doors.

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.