A burst of mortar fire from Gaza into southern Israel on Thursday and Israeli strikes against mortar shell and anti-tank missile launching posts led to several hours of uneasy silence as the latest round of cross- border fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad, a militant group. in the Palestinian coastal enclave, for a third day.
Efforts to mediate a ceasefire led by Egypt are continuing, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials, and there were no immediate reports of casualties from mortar fire from Gaza or from the strikes. in Israel on Thursday.
But fears are high in Israel that Islamic Jihad will still try to retaliate for a targeted killing in Israel, before 2 a.m. Thursday, of Ali Ghali, a member of Islamic Jihad’s military council and the Gaza commander of the rocket group. launch force.
On Wednesday, Islamic Jihad fired more than 500 rockets and mortar shells toward Israel, according to the Israeli military, reaching as far north as the sky above the suburbs of Tel Aviv, while Israel carried out airstrikes against what the military described as 150 targets were involved. of the militant group in Gaza.
Ghali was killed along with two other people. The Israeli military and Islamic Jihad confirmed Ghali’s death. Islamic Jihad identified two other dead Ghali’s brothers and nephews. The Israeli military described them as Islamic Jihad operatives. Pictures from the scene show that the Israeli strike destroyed the apartment of three people on the top floor of a residential building in the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.
“The enemy continues its crimes against those who are safe in their homes, and it will pay the price for that,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement on Thursday, referring to Israel’s actions, adding, “The policy of killing by bombing residential buildings. will not bring victory to the enemy, and future strikes will reveal his weakness and impotence.”
The latest round of fighting, Israel’s third confrontation with Islamic Jihad in Gaza in 10 months, began with an Israeli attack on Tuesday that killed three of the militant group’s top commanders, along with 10 civilians, four of them children, according to Palestinian officials. .
A total of 25 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting began on Tuesday, six of them children, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The Israeli military said approximately a quarter of the rockets fired Wednesday by Islamic Jihad failed and landed in Palestinian territory. Israeli officials said four of the Palestinians killed on Wednesday, including a 10-year-old boy, were killed by two of the misfired rockets.
There were no casualties on the Israeli side. Millions of people in areas within range of rocket fire were ordered to stay near safe rooms and bomb shelters. Israel’s air defense systems intercepted most of the rockets that appeared to be heading for population centers, although a few managed to penetrate and damage several homes.
He is Abuheweila contributed reporting from Gaza City, and Myra Noveck and Error in Yazbek from Jerusalem.