In what is perceived to be as a response to the rocket attacks in Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) started an air-strike in Palestinian controlled Gaza Strip, late on Friday. In this series of air-strikes in the heart of Gaza City, more than 10 people are believed to be killed. It includes Taysir Al-Jabari, the commander of Al-Quds Brigade, a military wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and a 5 year old girl, along with her father. It all started on Monday after the arrest of Bassam Al-Saadi, the head of PIJ from Jenin in the West Bank area. In some recent attacks, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians killed at least 17 Israelis and 2 Ukrainians, forcing the Israeli government to take some stern actions on the ground. And, this latest provocation, where 100 rockets were fired into Israel by the Islamic Jihad militants, is seen to be the main reason for this massive Israeli air strike in Gaza.
Even though a majority of these rockets were intercepted by the IDF’s “Iron Dome” system, some landed into Israeli territory, causing damage. Thereafter, the Israeli Defense Forces started striking the militant positions in Gaza. In a televised address to the nation, Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid said that the strikes were a counter-terrorism measure, against an immediate threat. It is a sort of pre-emptive and speculative military action. The IDF hit the ‘Palestine Tower’ in Gaza City center, killing 4 PIJ militants, including the commander, Taysir Al-Jabari. In this air-strike, a good over 55 people were also injured. As per the Israeli military spokesperson, it is estimating that about 15 PIJ militants had been killed in Friday’s strikes.
Meanwhile, on a visit to Tehran, the secretary general of PIJ, Ziyad Al-Nakhala said that they are going to forcefully respond to this Israeli air-strike, with a barrage of rockets into Israel. Similarly Hamas, the banned militant outfit which controls the Gaza Strip said, all armed Palestinian groups are ‘united’ in this battle against Israel. The other notable group is Hezbollah, which is also backed by Iran, along with PIJ. Israel has heightened security measures for its citizens near its border with the entire Gaza Strip. In this well-planned operation by the IDF, it hit the seven storey tower in Gaza that housed the PIJ commander and his associates. Huge smoke and fire could be seen coming out of the building, just after the strikes. Israeli reconnaissance drones could be seen hovering over the besieged tower, assessing the impact and success of the strikes.
Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is expecting retaliatory rocket fire from Palestinian militant factions in Gaza, and has readied or activated almost 25,000 reservist troops. Israel has sent new reinforcements to the borders, anticipating response from militant groups after the arrest of the PIJ head, earlier this week. As per an Islamic Jihad official in Gaza, they’ve made certain demands to Israel through Egyptian negotiators. Their main demands include release of Bassam Al-Saadi, immediate halt to military operations in the West Bank and lifting of the blockade of the Gaza Strip. But, Israel is yet to respond to this demand. Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz also visited the Jewish communities near the border, and assured them of a ‘foolproof’ action that will get rid of this threat permanently, without getting into the specifics. This is how things are slowly shaping up. Hope, it all ends for good!