Israeli airstrike kills 2nd top Islamic Jihad commander


The Islamic Jihad commander, Khaled Mansour, was killed in an airstrike on an house constructing within the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza late Saturday.

Two different militants and 5 civilians have been additionally killed within the assault, bringing the Palestinian loss of life toll to 31 for the reason that begin of the Israeli offensive on Friday. Among the many useless have been six kids and 4 ladies. The Palestinian Well being Ministry stated greater than 250 folks have been wounded since Friday.

Israel says a number of the deaths have been attributable to errant rocket hearth, together with one incident within the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza during which six Palestinians have been killed Saturday. On Sunday, a projectile hit a house in the identical space of Jebaliya, killing two males. Palestinians held Israel accountable, whereas Israel stated it was investigating whether or not the world was hit by an errant rocket.

Mansour, the Islamic Jihad commander for southern Gaza, was within the house of a member of the group when the missile struck, flattening the three-story constructing and badly damaging close by homes.

“Abruptly, with out warning, the home subsequent to us was bombed and the whole lot turned black and dusty with smoke within the blink of a watch,” stated Wissam Jouda, who lives subsequent to the focused constructing.

Ahmed al-Qaissi, one other neighbor, stated his spouse and son have been among the many wounded, struggling shrapnel accidents. To make method for rescue employees, al-Qaissi agreed to have a part of his home demolished.

As a funeral for Mansour started within the Gaza Strip on Sunday afternoon, the Israeli navy stated it was putting suspected “Islamic Jihad rocket launch posts.” Smoke might be seen from the strikes as thumps from the strikes’ explosions rattled Gaza.

The Rafah strike was the deadliest up to now within the present spherical of preventing, which was initiated by Israel on Friday with the focused killing of Islamic Jihad’s commander for northern Gaza.

Israel has stated it took motion towards the militant group due to concrete threats of an imminent assault, however has not supplied particulars. Caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who’s an skilled diplomat however untested in overseeing a conflict, unleashed the offensive lower than three months earlier than a normal election during which he’s campaigning to maintain the job.

In an announcement Sunday, Lapid stated the navy would proceed to strike targets in Gaza “in a pinpoint and accountable method with a purpose to scale back to a minimal the hurt to noncombatants.” Lapid stated the strike that killed Mansour was “a rare achievement.”

“The operation will proceed so long as mandatory,” Lapid stated.

Israel estimates its airstrikes have killed about 15 militants.

Islamic Jihad has fewer fighters and supporters than Hamas, and little is understood about its weapons arsenal. Each teams name for Israel’s destruction, however have completely different priorities, with Hamas constrained by the calls for of governing.

The Israeli military stated militants in Gaza fired some 580 rockets towards Israel. The military stated its air defenses had intercepted a lot of them, with two of these shot down being fired towards Jerusalem. Islamic Jihad has fewer fighters and supporters than Hamas.

Air raid sirens sounded within the Jerusalem space for the primary time Sunday since final yr’s Israel-Hamas conflict.

Jerusalem is usually a flash level in periods of cross-border preventing between Israel and Gaza. On Sunday, a whole lot of Jews, together with firebrand ultra-nationalist lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir, visited a delicate holy web site in Jerusalem, recognized to Jews because the Temple Mount and to Muslims because the Noble Sanctuary. The go to, beneath heavy police safety, ended with out incident, police stated.

Such demonstrative visits by Israeli hard-liners in search of to underscore Israeli claims of sovereignty over contested Jerusalem have sparked violence prior to now. The holy web site sits on the fault line of the Israeli-Palestinian battle and is central to rival narratives of Palestinians and Israeli Jews.

In Palestinian cities and cities within the West Financial institution, Israeli safety forces stated they detained 19 folks on suspicion of belonging to the Islamic Jihad throughout in a single day raids.

The preventing started with Israel’s killing of a senior Islamic Jihad commander in a wave of strikes Friday that Israel stated have been meant to forestall an imminent assault.

By Sunday, Hamas nonetheless appeared to remain out of the battle. The group has a powerful incentive to keep away from one other conflict. Final yr’s Israel-Hamas conflict, one in all 4 main conflicts and several other smaller battles during the last 15 years, exacted a staggering toll on the impoverished territory’s 2.3 million Palestinian residents.

Because the final conflict, Israel and Hamas have reached tacit understandings primarily based on buying and selling calm for work permits and a slight easing of the border blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt when Hamas overran the territory 15 years in the past. Israel has issued 12,000 work permits to Gaza laborers, and has held out the prospect of granting one other 2,000 permits.

The lone energy plant in Gaza floor to a halt at midday Saturday because of a scarcity of gas. Israel has stored its crossing factors into Gaza closed since Tuesday. With the brand new disruption, Gazans can use solely 4 hours of electrical energy a day, growing their reliance on non-public turbines and deepening the territory’s power energy disaster amid peak summer season warmth.


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