Israel and Islamic Jihad continue to clash in Gaza
More than a dozen people were killed in the shootout. Unprecedented tension renewed for a year.
By The HuffPost with AFP
Middle East – On Saturday, August 6, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement in the Gaza Strip and Israel continued their exchange of fire the previous day, marking the worst outbreak of violence between the two enemies in a year.
At the start of the day, as missile warnings continued to be heard in Israeli towns bordering the besieged Palestinian territories, AFP journalists could see that Gaza City, which has come under fire since Friday, appeared to be paralyzed; The streets are deserted and shops are closed in this besieged enclave of 2.3 million people undermined by poverty and unemployment.
Until dawn, the Israeli army continued its shelling throughout the enclave, targeting Islamic Jihad sites. It says that it hit a weapons manufacturing site in particular and caused the deaths of fifteen people among the fighters. Gaza authorities reported 10 dead, including a 5-year-old girl, and 79 wounded.
Twenty arrests in the West Bank
The military wing of Islamic Jihad, Saraya al-Quds, said today, Friday, after more than 100 missiles were fired at Israeli territory, that this is only a “first response” to the assassination of one of its leaders with an Israeli strike. Israeli forces also arrested during the night 19 members of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, an area occupied by the Jewish state since 1967, an Islamic organization considered terrorist by Israel, the United States and the European Union.
It was the arrest of the group’s leader in the occupied West Bank earlier this week that led to this new armed confrontation. Israeli authorities said they feared reprisals from Gaza, a small area ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement and where Islamic Jihad was founded, and launched a “pre-emptive attack”.
This is the worst confrontation between the Jewish state and armed organizations in Gaza since the 11-day war in May 2021, which left 260 dead on the Palestinian side, including fighters, and 14 people dead in Israel, including a soldier, according to local authorities. .
Egyptian officials told AFP in Gaza that Egypt, the historical mediator between Israel and armed groups in Gaza, is working to mediate and may host an Islamic Jihad delegation this Saturday. The Egyptian diplomacy had indicated earlier that it was holding discussions “relentlessly in order to calm the situation and preserve lives and property.”
Preventive strikes, according to Israel
After the first raids, Islamic Jihad accused the Jewish state of “starting the war”. The Secretary-General of the party, Ziad al-Nakhala, said in an interview with the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV in the Iranian capital, Tehran, that “the Zionist enemy started this aggression and it must expect us to fight relentlessly.”
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on television on Friday that “Israel carried out a precise anti-terror operation against a direct threat,” accusing the armed group of being “a proxy of Iran that wants to destroy and kill the State of Israel. Innocent Israelis.” “We will do whatever it takes to defend our people,” he said.
In 2019, the killing of a leader of the Islamic Jihad movement in an Israeli operation led to the outbreak of bloody battles between the movement and Israel. Hamas, which has fought the Jewish state in four wars since taking power in 2007, has stayed away from the clashes.
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