Taysir al Jabari: Israel Kills Islamic Jihad Leader in Large-Scale Bombing of Gaza | International
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After four wars and countless skirmishes in the last 15 years, this Friday Gaza has suffered a large-scale Israeli bombardment, with successive waves, in which Noted Islamic Jihad leader killed and at least nine other Palestinians, including a five-year-old boy. The selective assassination occurs after four days of strict military blockade of the Strip by Israel, which feared retaliation against border populations as a result of the arrest, last Monday, of the head of the Iranian-allied militia in the West Bank.
The Israeli Armed Forces hastened to baptize the operation on Gaza as Dawn Rising, in a clear sign that hostilities threaten to drag on. The batteries of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system were deployed in the south and center of Israel before the firing of a hundred Palestinian rockets by the Jihad militias. The offensive threatens to unleash an uncontrolled war escalation. The shelling continued late into the night. Israel mobilized 25,000 reservists to deal with the mounting tension as alarm sirens wailed around the Strip and in cities near Tel Aviv.
The Al Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, cried out for revenge after confirming in a statement the death of commander Taysir al Jabari, better known as Abu Mahmud, in the Israeli attack. A missile hit his house in the Gaza capital. Al Jabari, a military commander in the northern part of the Strip, was considered one of the most prominent leaders of the second largest Islamist militia in Gaza, which maintains close contact with the Tehran regime. He was acting as a liaison with Hamas, which has hegemonically controlled the coastal enclave since 2007, according to Israeli intelligence services.
The selective assassination, also directed against other Islamic Jihad commanders in successive attacks, resembles that of Al Jabari’s predecessor in the post, commander Baha Abu al Ata, who was killed by Israel in 2019 in a special operation, without the Islamist movement Hamas intervened. Jihad militants have recently launched anti-tank rocket attacks on Israeli vehicles around the enclave. Israel fears above all this form of retaliation.
Palestinian televisions showed buildings reduced to rubble and thick plumes of smoke over Gaza. Local authorities declared a state of emergency while health services evacuated 55 wounded to hospitals, according to provisional data from the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
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Islamic Jihad’s top leader, Ziad al Najala, promised a harsh response. “There are no red lines, and Tel Aviv and other cities are going to suffer the weight of our rockets,” he told the Lebanese Al Mayadin television channel, controlled by the pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia, Reuters reports. Israel appears to have taken the threat seriously after the apparent failure of Egypt’s mediation to try to prevent further escalation in the Palestinian enclave. From the West Bank, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Israel to end the bombing. Hamas has limited itself to condemning the death of Islamic Jihad militants in a statement, without launching a counteroffensive for the time being in support of its allies in the radical Islamist movement.
The Israeli Army’s National Defense Command, which also covers civil defense, declared a “special situation” 80 kilometers around the Palestinian Strip, where residents must remain in safe places and road and rail communications have been cut off since Tuesday. . After urgently convening a security committee, the Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, announced that the Armed Forces are acting to “eliminate the threats that operate on citizens” around Gaza. “We will not allow terrorist groups in Gaza to impose their agenda in the area. Whoever tries to harm Israel should know that sooner or later we will find them”, he warned, before announcing that the operation will last “as long as necessary”.
The Israeli authorities have ordered the diversion of the approach and take-off routes to David Ben Gurion International Airport, in the Tel Aviv area, due to the danger posed by the launch of rockets from the Palestinian Strip. The cultural and economic capital of Israel has already prepared the bomb shelters for their immediate opening. In last year’s conflict, Islamist militias fired waves of thousands of projectiles from the enclave.
Fear of reprisals in Israeli populations
The preventive attack, in which there has been no initial Palestinian aggression, has been carried out for fear of armed reprisals for the arrest earlier this week of Bassam al Saadi, the military chief of the Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, in the Jenin area. (north of the occupied Palestinian territory). Israel sealed all the crossings it controls on the Gaza border. The state of maximum alert has led to the isolation of thousands of Israelis in the communities that border the Strip. Spokesmen for the Israeli Armed Forces have assured that there was “an imminent threat” to justify the military offensive. Islamic Jihad had demanded, according to reports in the Hebrew press, the release of its commander in the West Bank to stop the retaliatory actions it had planned.
A military statement He assured that “about 15 Islamic Jihad operatives” had been killed in the bombings, in the absence of a definitive balance. Air and artillery shelling continued around midnight Friday in the southern Gaza Strip, according to the Hebrew media. Gaza, a narrow territorial strip of 365 square kilometers where 2.3 million inhabitants are crowded, suffered the last large-scale Israeli attack in May last year. That offensive lasted 11 days and claimed the lives of more than 250 Palestinians, including 67 minors, and another 13 people in Israeli territory.
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