Ten people, including a senior jihadi leader, were killed after Israel launched a new wave of airstrikes and Palestinian Authority militants sent rockets into Gaza, stoking fears of a renewed war between the bitter enemies.
Late Friday night local time, Gaza’s military Joint Operations Room, a group consisting of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and all other Palestinian militant groups, said in a statement that they are preparing a further response to Israel’s airstrikes, according to the Middle East Eye. The office of Hamas’s political chief, Ismail Haniyeh, warned that “all options are open” after 10 people, including Islamic Jihad leader Tayseer al Jabari, were killed in the attacks.
The conflict started Friday when the Israel Defense Forces launched an airstrike. Islamic Jihad responded with a barrage of rockets, which were met in turn with more Israeli airstrikes. The exchange is raising worries about a new war breaking out in the region.
ISRAEL CONDUCTS WAVE OF STRIKES ON GAZA
“Israel is not interested in a broad campaign in Gaza — but is not afraid of it. Whatever it takes, we will remove the threats from our citizens,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid said, signaling that a renewed offensive into Gaza isn’t off the table.
“Today we proactively set out for Operation Dawn against the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip — in order to neutralize the threat to the settlements and citizens surrounding Gaza,” he added.
Video published by the Times of Gaza showed footage of renewed Israeli airstrikes as part of the new operation late Friday night.
The new operation is targeted against Islamic Jihad, not Hamas, a spokesman for the IDF said in an interview with Israel Public Broadcasting, noting thousands of reservists are being called forward, signaling a possible further escalation of the conflict.
Palestinian Authority sources accuse Israeli officials of instigating the conflict as a cynical ploy ahead of the Israeli elections in November, according to Al Jazeera.
“Israel is using Gazans as sacrificial pawns in their ongoing struggle for power and are acting with impunity because they know nobody can or will hold them accountable,” Tariq Kenney-Shawa, a U.S.-based fellow with the Palestinian Policy Network think tank, told Al Jazeera.
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While no casualty figures have been released for the newest wave of airstrikes, the Gaza health ministry put the number of casualties from Friday’s earlier airstrikes targeting a senior Islamic Jihad figure at 10 killed, including a 5-year old, and 55 wounded, according to the New York Times. The newest clashes are the deadliest since the 11-day war last year.