Israeli strikes kill at least 10, including militant — Palestinians respond with rockets

  • Rockets fired by Palestinian militants toward Israel, in Gaza City, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed at least 10 people, including a senior militant, and wounded 55 others. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair) Fatima Shbair

  • Smoke pours out of a tall building after an Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Israel unleashed a wave of airstrikes in Gaza on Friday, killing several people. (AP Photo)

  • The damaged apartment of Taiseer al-Jabari the Islamic Jihad commander for northern Gaza, following an Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed several people, including a senior militant, and wounded 40 others. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) Adel Hana

  • Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed several people, including a senior militant, and wounded 40 others. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa) Hatem Moussa

  • Palestinian Hamas security and residents gather next to the apartment of Taiseer al-Jabari the Islamic Jihad commander for northern Gaza, following an Israeli airstrike Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed several people, including a senior militant, and wounded 40 others. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair) Fatima Shbair

  • The damaged apartment of Taiseer al-Jabari the Islamic Jihad commander for northern Gaza, following an Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed several people, including a senior militant, and wounded 40 others. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair) Fatima Shbair

  • Relatives react while waiting at the hospital to see the body of Islamic Jihad said Taiseer al-Jabari who was killed during Israeli airstrikes on his apartment in Gaza City, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed several people, including a senior militant, and wounded 40 others. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair) Fatima Shbair

  • An Israeli Air Force Apache helicopter flies towards the border with Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed several people, including a senior militant, and wounded 40 others. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) Ariel Schalit

  • Relatives react while waiting at the hospital to see the body of Islamic Jihad said Taiseer al-Jabari who was killed during Israeli airstrikes on his apartment in Gaza City, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed several people, including a senior militant, and wounded 40 others. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair) Fatima Shbair

  • Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed several people, including a senior militant, and wounded 40 others. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa) Hatem Moussa

  • An Israeli soldier secures a road block leading to the border with Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. The Israeli military says it is sending additional forces to the area around the Gaza Strip as it braces for possible attacks after the arrest of a senior militant in the West Bank this week. Authorities closed roads and other areas around Gaza after a raid Monday night. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) Ariel Schalit

  • Israeli police officers try to block supporters and family members of Israeli soldier Hadar Goldin, killed during the 2014 conflict in the Gaza Strip, from marching towards the Gaza border near Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, southern Israel Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. The protesters call for the return of Goldin's and Israeli civilians held by Gaza's Hamas rulers back to Israel. The demonstration comes as Israel has closed all roads along Gaza border since Tuesday and sent reinforcements for... Ariel Schalit

  • Israeli traffic police blocks a main road leading to the border with Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. The Israeli military says it is sending additional forces to the area around the Gaza Strip as it braces for possible attacks after the arrest of a senior militant in the West Bank this week. Authorities closed roads and other areas around Gaza after a raid Monday night. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) Ariel Schalit

  • Israeli soldiers near their tanks in an area near the border with Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Israel has closed roads near Gaza and sent in troop reinforcements as it braces for a possible revenge attack, following the arrest of a senior Palestinian militant in the occupied West Bank earlier this week. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) Ariel Schalit

  • An Israeli soldier secures tanks in an area near the border with Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Israel has closed roads near Gaza and sent in troop reinforcements as it braces for a possible revenge attack, following the arrest of a senior Palestinian militant in the occupied West Bank earlier this week. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) Ariel Schalit

  • Palestinian mourners carry the bodies of victims killed earlier in an Israeli airstrike, during their funeral in Gaza City, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed several people, including a senior militant, and wounded 40 others. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair) Fatima Shbair

  • Palestinian mourners carry the bodies of victims killed in an Israeli airstrike during their funeral Friday in Gaza City, Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza killed several people, including a senior militant, and wounded 40. AP PHOTO

Published: 8/5/2022 9:31:58 PM
Modified: 8/5/2022 9:28:50 PM

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel unleashed a wave of airstrikes Friday on Gaza, killing at least 10 people, including a senior militant, according to Palestinian officials. Israel said it targeted the Islamic Jihad militant group in response to an “imminent threat” following the recent arrest of another senior militant.

Hours later, Palestinian militants launched a barrage of rockets as air-raid sirens wailed in Israel and the two sides drew closer to another all-out war. Islamic Jihad claimed to have fired 100 rockets.

Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers have fought four wars and several smaller battles over the last 15 years at a staggering cost to the territory’s 2 million Palestinian residents.

A blast was heard in Gaza City, where smoke poured out of the seventh floor of a tall building. Video released by Israel’s military showed the strikes blowing up three guard towers with suspected militants in them.

In a nationally televised speech, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said his country launched the attacks based on “concrete threats.”

“This government has a zero-tolerance policy for any attempted attacks — of any kind — from Gaza towards Israeli territory,” Lapid said. “Israel will not sit idly by when there are those who are trying to harm its civilians.”

He added that “Israel isn’t interested in a broader conflict in Gaza but will not shy away from one either.”

The violence poses an early test for Lapid, who assumed the role of caretaker prime minister ahead of elections in November, when he hopes to keep the position. He has experience in diplomacy, having served as foreign minister in the outgoing government, but his security credentials are thin.

Hamas also faces a dilemma in deciding whether to join a new battle barely a year after the last war caused widespread devastation. There has been almost no reconstruction since then, and the isolated coastal territory is mired in poverty, with unemployment hovering around 50%.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said a 5-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman were among those killed in Gaza, without differentiating between civilian and militant casualties. The Israeli military said early estimates were that around 15 fighters were killed. Dozens of people were wounded.

Islamic Jihad said Taiseer al-Jabari, its commander for northern Gaza, was among the dead. He had succeeded another militant killed in an airstrike in 2019.

An Israeli military spokesman said the strikes were in response to an “imminent threat” from two militant squads armed with anti-tank missiles. The spokesman, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said al-Jabari was deliberately targeted and had been responsible for “multiple attacks” on Israel.

Hundreds marched in a funeral procession for him and others who were killed, with many mourners waving Palestinian and Islamic Jihad flags and calling for revenge.

Israeli media showed the skies above southern and central Israel lighting up with rockets and interceptors from Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system. An explosion was heard in Tel Aviv.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many rockets were launched, and there was no immediate word on any casualties on the Israeli side.

Israel continued to strike other targets Friday, including what it said were weapon-production facilities and Islamic Jihad positions.

The U.N. special envoy to the region, Tor Wennesland, said he was “deeply concerned.”

“The launching of rockets must cease immediately, and I call on all sides to avoid further escalation,” he said.


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