Israel strikes Gaza killing 12 people, including nine civilians

Al-Jazeera  /  May 8, 2023

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement said that three of its leaders were killed as well as their wives and some children.

At least 12 people have been killed in Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip in what Israel’s military said was the targeting of members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.

Al-Jazeera’s Youmna al-Sayed, reporting from Gaza, said the Ministry of Health declared that 12 people were killed in the Gaza Strip, and at least 20 others were injured in the Israeli air attacks.

Explosions targeting residential apartments were heard at about 2am local time on Tuesday (23:00 GMT Monday) in different parts of Gaza, Al-Sayed said.

“From these 12, three of them are Islamic Jihad commanders while the nine others are civilians – mostly families of these commanders, and also civilians around the apartments that were targeted,” Al-Sayed said.

The 20 injured people were also civilians, she said.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement announced that three of its leaders were killed in the air attacks. The deceased were identified as Jihad al-Ghannam, Khalil al-Bahtini, and Tariq Izz al-Deen.

The three were killed along with their wives and several children, the group said in a statement which did not give details on their wives or how many children were killed and their ages.

Witnesses said an explosion hit the top floor of an apartment building in Gaza City and a house in the southern city of Rafah, the Reuters news agency reported.

The Israeli army said the air attacks, codenamed “Operation Shield and Arrow”, targeted three Palestinian Islamic Jihad members who it claimed were responsible for recent rockets fired towards Israel.

Last week, Israeli missiles pounded the densely-populated Gaza Strip following rockets fired towards Israeli territory in the aftermath of the death in an Israeli prison of well-known Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan.

Adnan, an activist affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, died after nearly three months on hunger strike. Protesting against his arrest without charge, Adnan had refused to eat for 87 days, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society.

The Israeli bombardment last week damaged multiple areas in Gaza, including al-Safina, al-Baydar and near Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, Al-Jazeera’s Maram Humaid reported.

Hashel Mubarak al-Swerki, a 58-year-old father of 11, died after being severely injured by shrapnel from the Israeli attack northwest of Gaza City. Five other people were also wounded by Israeli missiles east of Beit Hanoun, in the north of the besieged strip.

Calm was restored after Qatari, Egyptian and United Nations officials intervened to broker a ceasefire agreement between Israel and armed Palestinian factions, officials said.

In anticipation of Palestinian rockets being launched in response to the air attacks on Tuesday, Israel’s military issued instructions advising Israeli residents of communities within 40km (25 miles) of Gaza to stay close to designated bomb shelters, the Associated Press news agency reported.

COGAT, a unit in the Israeli Defence ministry that coordinates civilian affairs with Palestinian authorities, said two crossings with Gaza have been closed for entry and exit of people and goods until further notice, Reuters reported.



Israel military kills 13 Palestinians in overnight Gaza raids

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  May 9, 2023

Air strikes target Islamic Jihad leaders, leaving three commanders killed, along with four children, three women and a dentist.

The Israeli military killed 13 Palestinians, including three Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commanders along with their wives and children, in an overnight attack on the Gaza Strip.

A total of 40 fighter jets participated in bombing different locations in the besieged enclave just after 2 am local time on Tuesday, according to the Israeli military.

The Palestinian health ministry said four children, four women and a dentist were among those killed. Another 20 people were wounded, including three children and seven women, some of whom are in serious and critical condition. 

Three commanders in the al-Quds Brigades (Saraya al-Quds), the military branch of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, were killed along with their families in the bombardment. 

They were identified by the PIJ as Jihad Ghannam, al-Quds Brigades’s general secretary, Khalil al-Bahtini, a northern Gaza commander, and Tareq Izzeldeen, a military commander. 

The Islamic Jihad is considered the second-largest armed group in the Gaza Strip behind Hamas, which governs the enclave. 

The group said in a statement that a response to the Israeli aggression “will not take long”. 

“The bombardment will be met by bombardment and the attack will be met by an attack,” said Islamic Jihad spokesman Tareq Selmi. “This crime will not pass unpunished.”

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, said: “Assassination of leaders will not bring the occupation security but more resistance.”

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said that the military, working with the Shin Bet intelligence service, targeted the leadership of the Islamic Jihad in Gaza in a “precise” operation. Shortly after the air strikes, the Israeli military acknowledged the attack, which it called “Operation Shield and Arrow”.

Bracing for rocket fire from Palestinian groups, Israeli cities near the frontier with Gaza opened public bomb shelters. 

Roads near Gaza and beaches in the southern Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod have been closed.

Doctor mourned

In a brief statement, the Palestinian health ministry mourned Israel’s killing of Jamal Khaswan, a well-known dentist and the chairman of Al-Wafa Hospital’s board of directors.

He was killed with his wife, Merfat Khaswan, and their child, Yousef Khaswan. 

“The Ministry of Health mourns with great sadness Dr Jamal Khaswan, who was martyred at dawn today, alongside his wife and son, as a result of the brutal Zionist attack on Gaza City,” the statement said. 

“Dr Khaswan was a man of great patriotic and medical dedication.”

An Israeli military spokesman said they were “aware of some collateral” but had no immediate comment. 

The attack comes a week after a brief exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza left one Palestinian killed and two Israelis wounded. 

It followed the death of prominent Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan, who was a member of the Islamic Jihad in the occupied West Bank. 

The Tuesday air strikes were the largest attack mounted by Israel against Gaza since August last year, when the military assassinated senior PIJ commander Taiseer al-Jabari, triggering a three-day exchange of fire

At least 49 Palestinians were killed in the 2022 Israeli bombardment, including 17 children, and 360 others were wounded.

More than two million Palestinians are packed into Gaza, an area the size of the US city of Detroit. Under blockade by Israel since 2006, the besieged coastal enclave has been described as “the world’s largest open-air prison”.

Israel withdrew its troops from the strip in 2005 but maintains tight control of Gaza’s airspace and land and sea borders, which has reduced its economy to a state of collapse.