Gaza: 31 Palestinians killed, rockets fired at Jerusalem

Islamic Jihad said it fired rockets at Jerusalem for the first time since hostilities began on Friday.

Gaza: 31 Palestinians killed, rockets fired at Jerusalem

Islamic Jihad said it fired rockets at Jerusalem for the first time since hostilities began on Friday. Like 97% of the projectiles launched from Gaza, they were intercepted by the Israeli anti-missile shield, according to the army.

The Jewish state, which says it launched a “preventive attack” targeting Islamic Jihad, claims to have killed fighters and “neutralized” the leaders of the organization, considered terrorist by Israel, the United States and the Union European.

The main military leaders of the movement in Gaza, Tayssir Al-Jabari and Khaled Mansour, were killed, according to the army, an announcement confirmed by Islamic Jihad.

According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, 31 people including six children have died and 265 have been injured for two days in the enclave under Israeli blockade.

The Israeli authorities contradict this assessment and assure that Palestinian children were killed on Saturday by a failed rocket attack from Islamic Jihad towards Israel.

- "Extraordinaire" - 

Warning sirens sounded in the morning in the Jerusalem area, according to the Israeli army, while AFP journalists heard brief explosions in the distance.

The shooting comes as hundreds of Israelis gather in the Old City for a Jewish holiday, raising fears of violence as nationalists march to the Esplanade of the Mosques, also known as the Temple Mount. This part is located in East Jerusalem, an area occupied and annexed by Israel.

An AFP photographer was briefly detained by Israeli forces while covering the visit of a far-right lawmaker to the esplanade.

Hamas, an Islamist movement that has governed Gaza since 2007, warned in a statement against these Israeli "incursions" which could lead to an "uncontrollable" situation.

"The resistance" is "united in battle" against Israel, assured Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, a group that has waged several wars against the Jewish state but which has not so far taken part in the confrontation army.

This is the worst between the Jewish state and armed organizations in Gaza since the May 2021 war, which in eleven days left 260 dead on the Palestinian side, including combatants, and 14 dead in Israel, including a soldier. 'after the local authorities.

"Every day we wake up with martyrs, children and women," said Abu Mahmoud al-Madhoun, 56, in Gaza City. “Every moment an apartment or a house is destroyed, people are killed, injured or displaced”.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the operation in Gaza would continue "as long as necessary", calling the strike that killed Khaled Mansour an "extraordinary result".

This strike in Rafah (south) killed eight people, according to the Gaza Interior Ministry.

In Israel, two people were slightly injured by rocket fire, according to rescuers.

- Power outages -

The arrest of a leader of the group in the West Bank last Monday led to this new cycle of violence. Israeli authorities, saying they fear reprisals, carried out the first strikes on Friday in Gaza, where Islamic Jihad is well established.

Some 40 members of the group have also been arrested in the past two days in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by the Jewish state since 1967.

Egypt, a historic intermediary between Israel and the armed groups in Gaza, is trying to establish a mediation. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said on Saturday that he was working "tirelessly" to restore calm, but on the ground, the exchange of fire continues and the inhabitants remain cloistered at home, according to AFP journalists in Gaza.

The only power plant in the enclave of 2.3 million inhabitants has ceased to operate for lack of fuel, the Jewish state having closed the border crossings with Gaza in recent days, effectively interrupting diesel deliveries.

Power cuts, frequent in the enclave, have since multiplied, noted an AFP journalist.

Since 2007, Israel has imposed a strict blockade on Gaza, a micro-territory plagued by poverty and unemployment.

In 2019, the death of an Islamic Jihad commander in an Israeli operation sparked several days of deadly exchanges of fire between the armed group and Israel. Hamas, which has fought the Jewish state in several wars since taking power in 2007, had kept its distance from the clashes.