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Israel eliminates Islamic Jihad leader

The Israeli army has begun "Operation Dawn" aimed at wiping out several jihadist enclaves in Gaza and the West Bank
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REUTERS/SUHAIB SALEMA  -   Rockets fired from Gaza into Israel

Gaza has again been the scene of a new clash between the Israeli army and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in which the number two of the terrorist organisation, identified as Tayseer al-Jabari, and nine Palestinians, including a minor, were reportedly killed. In addition, in the last few hours, Israel has reportedly captured 19 other members of Islamic Jihad.  

These developments come after several days of tension following Israel's arrest of senior Islamic Jihad official Basem Saadi in a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. A detention to which the terrorist organisation threatened that there would be "consequences".  

Hours after Saadi's arrest, Israel ordered the closure of border crossings with Gaza for fear of reprisals, as well as the closure of several roads in Israeli areas bordering the West Bank. In recent days, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid reportedly held several meetings with defence officials to prepare for what they considered to be an imminent Palestinian attack. 

However, this attack was not staged, but this did not deter Israel from launching Operation Dawn against terrorism in the Gaza Strip. Following this, the terrorist group launched what so far amounts to 160 attacks on areas in southern and central Israel, which were intercepted. Defence Minister Benny Gantz declared before the attack that "to our enemies, and specifically to the leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, I would like to say: your time is up. The threat will be eliminated one way or another.   

 

He added that "the State of Israel and its army will continue its operations, knowing the responsibility on our shoulders: to defend the communities and citizens of southern Israel. And to defend the citizens of the entire state of Israel. According to Gantz, Israel "is not seeking conflict" but that "they will not hesitate to defend our citizens, if necessary".  

In this climate of tension and violence, which is however not a new situation for the Israeli and Palestinian sides, the secretary general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (IJ) movement, Ziad al-Nakhala, has threatened to attack central Israel, noting that "Israel's occupation will pay a heavy price for its aggression against Gaza, and there are no red lines or mediation after today", and pointed out that "Tel Aviv will be a target for our missiles"

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REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA - A Palestinian boy carries his brother as he walks through the rubble of a house destroyed in an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip

Nakhala called on Palestinians "governed by Fatah to do their duty in the face of this aggression, whether they are in Gaza or the West Bank".  

In the face of the mediation that countries such as Egypt are attempting in the Gaza Strip to try to cease hostilities, Nakhala rejected Cairo's role and urged "the resistance fighters" to "not back down or hesitate (...) let the Egyptians know that aggression is the nature of the occupation and we will respond forcefully".  

On the other hand, although Hamas has not participated in the attacks launched from Gaza, the group has "stood in solidarity" with Islamic Jihad after declaring that "the Palestinian armed resistance is united against aggression". According to a statement issued by Hamas group spokesman Hazem Qasam, "the occupation has crossed the red lines and the time has come for us to teach the occupation a lesson and pay the cost".  

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PHOTO/AP  -  Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard march during an annual military parade at Ayatollah Khomeini's mausoleum

Israeli attacks have been ongoing throughout the Strip while the streets of Gaza have dawned deserted, according to various Palestinian television stations. 

Following the announcement of Tayseer al-Jabari's assassination, the Iranian Al-Quds brigades have vowed revenge. In this regard, the leader of Islamic Jihad himself, Ziad al-Najala, declared on the Lebanese television station Al Mayadin, controlled by the pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia, that "there are no more red lines and Tel Aviv and other cities will suffer the weight of our rockets". On the other hand, in the face of continuous threats from both groups, Israel has indicated the possibility of extending the operation against the jihadist enclaves, in what is already known as one of the biggest clashes since May 2021, when Hamas carried out several rocket attacks against Israel.