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Israeli airstrikes in Gaza stir fears of war

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Authorities imposed restrictions on cities in southern Israel and the Iron Dome missile defense system was deployed, including in areas around Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The Associated Press reported that another 40 people were wounded in Gaza.

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Army Radio said Israeli forces had begun Operation “Dawn” to target the Islamic Jihad group, days after they arrested one of the movement’s leading figures in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and warned against any retaliation.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the offensive was aimed at “eliminate the threat it poses to Israeli civilians and cities”.

Hamas, the largest militant group that runs Gaza, has said it may be considering armed action in response to the Israeli raids. “The occupation has crossed the red line and the time has come for us to teach it a lessonHamas spokesman in Gaza, Hazem Qassem, said in a statement.

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It was unclear whether the fighting would escalate into a new war between Israel and Gaza militants. But Israel’s decision to give its operation a formal name suggests that it is planning a sustained attack.

Both Islamic Jihad and Israel identified the militant killed by Israeli forces as Taysir al-Jabari, the commander of the group’s Al-Quds Brigades in Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip. A five-year-old girl was among the other deaths, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The occupation will pay a heavy price for its aggression against Gaza today, and now there are no red lines and no mediation”, said the secretary general of Islamic Jihad, Zeyad al-Nakhala, on Al-Quds radio. “We are going to fight and Tel Aviv will be a target for our missiles”.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have clashed repeatedly since Hamas seized control of the coastal territory in 2007 and waged several wars.

Israel closed the roads around Gaza and sent reinforcements to the border after the attack in the West Bank. On Friday, he limited gatherings in towns closest to Gaza to 10 people outside and 20 inside, and banned all educational activities.

Gaza has been under Israeli and Egyptian restrictions since the Hamas takeover, and troubled relations with the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which is locked in a power struggle with Hamas, have intensified Gaza’s angst.

More broadly, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has stalled for years, and as Arab governments from the United Arab Emirates to Morocco established formal ties with Israel, Palestinians have grown increasingly frustrated.

Earlier this year, rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, and Israeli forces shot down at least one missile and carried out a retaliatory airstrike.

Those attacks came amid clashes in Jerusalem that erupted after Israeli police entered the Al-Aqsa compound, saying they needed to quell the unrest as Palestinians gathered for Ramadan prayers.

Similar events at the site, also known as the Temple Mount, preceded Israel’s war with Hamas in 2021.

Source: Gestion

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