Israeli air strikes target and eliminate commanders of Islamic Jihad in Gaza

Israeli airstrikes targeting the Gaza Strip have resulted in the deaths of at least 13 Palestinians, including three commanders of the militant group Islamic Jihad.

According to a Palestinian health official, among the dead were six women and four children, while 20 others were injured.

The Israeli military said the operation was launched against militants who posed a threat to its citizens.

Gaza-based militants are expected to respond with rocket fire into Israel, and Islamic Jihad has vowed to take revenge.

The response of Hamas, which controls the Strip, is also a significant factor. Israeli officials are preparing for several days of fighting, with the strikes being the deadliest since last August’s conflict.

The Islamic Jihad has been responsible for many rocket attacks against Israel in recent years and is committed to Israel’s destruction.

Visuals displayed multiple apartments with their fronts torn off and other structures damaged.

According to reports, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, the al-Quds Brigades, stated that three of its commanders, along with their families, were killed.

It identified them as Jihad Shaker al-Ghannam, secretary of the al-Quds Brigades’ Military Council; Khalil Salah al-Bahtini, the commander of its Northern Region, and Tariq Muhammad Ezzedine, who it said was “one of the heads of military action” in the occupied West Bank.

“As we mourn our martyr leaders, along with their mujahideen wives and a number of their children, we affirm that the blood of the martyrs will increase our resolve,” the al-Quds Brigades said. “We will not leave our positions, and the resistance will continue, God willing.”

Israel’s Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, said: “Any terrorist who harms Israeli citizens will be made to regret it.”

According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Bahtini, who was killed in an airstrike, held a significant position as the top operational officer of the militant group Islamic Jihad in Gaza. He was allegedly responsible for the recent rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel over the past month.

“He was an imminent threat to the security of Israeli civilians,” it added.

It added that Ghannam was a senior member of Islamic Jihad’s rocket force and that Ezzedine was in charge of coordination with the group’s operatives in the West Bank and planning attacks on Israeli civilians there.

The IDF said its aircraft also struck 10 sites used to manufacture weapons and six Islamic Jihad military facilities.

Spokesman Lt Col Richard Hecht said the operation had “achieved what we wanted to achieve”, according to AFP news agency.

When asked about child casualties, he replied: “If there were some tragic deaths, we’ll look into it.”

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