Friday, 9 June, 2023

3 senior militants, 12 others killed after Israel strikes on Gaza Strip

Israel launched targeted airstrikes in densely populated areas of the Gaza Strip early Tuesday, killing three senior commanders of the Islamic Jihad militant group in their homes and at least 10 civilians, Palestinian health officials said. Two of the commanders' wives, several of their children and civilian neighbors — including a hospital director, his wife and son — were among the dead.

The attacks set the stage for what is likely to be a new round of fighting a week after an exchange of fire between Israel and Islamic Jihad. Tuesday's airstrikes targeted an apartment and house in Gaza City and a third house in the southern town of Rafah. The Palestinian Health Ministry said 20 people were wounded.

Israel also targeted Islamic Jihad training sites before the airstrikes halted at daybreak. After an hourslong lull, the military said it struck a vehicle carrying anti-tank guided missiles to a launchpad in enclave's southern city of Khan Younis. Two people were killed in that attack, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, without providing their identities. No militant group immediately claimed the two as members.

At midday, tens of thousands of people rushed into the streets for two giant funerals, with at least 10 bodies carried on stretchers in a mass procession in Gaza City. Children's coffins were carried next to those of their parents.

Such targeted killings are rare, and in the past, Palestinian militant groups have retaliated with intense barrages of rocket fire.