Monday August 15th, 2022 5:25PM

Israeli strikes on Gaza kill 9, including senior militant

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel unleashed a wave of airstrikes in Gaza on Friday, killing at least eight people, including a senior militant, and wounding dozens, according to Palestinian officials. Israel said it was targeting the Islamic Jihad militant group in response to an “imminent threat” following the arrest of another senior militant in the occupied West Bank earlier this week.

The targeted killing of the senior Palestinian militant appeared likely to draw rocket fire from Gaza, which would push the sides closer to all-out war. 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 on Friday afternoon. Video released by the military showed strikes blowing up three guard towers with suspected militants in them.

“The Israeli government will not allow terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip to set the agenda in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and threaten the citizens of the State of Israel," Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement. “Anyone who tries to harm Israel should know: We will find you.”

The violence poses an early test for Lapid, who assumed the role of caretaker prime minister ahead of elections in November in which 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 confirmed the toll, saying a 5-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman were among those killed. It did not say whether the others were militants or civilians.

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

A few hundred people gathered outside the morgue at Gaza City's main Shifa hospital. Some entered to identify loved ones, only to emerge in tears. One shouted: “May God take revenge against spies,” referring to Palestinian informants who cooperate with Israel.

An Israeli military spokesman said it launched the strikes 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.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz meanwhile approved an order to call up 25,000 reserve soldiers if needed. And the military announced a “special situation” on the home front, with schools closed and limits placed on other activities in communities within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of the border.

Israel had closed roads around Gaza earlier this week and sent reinforcements to the border as it braced for a revenge attack after Monday's arrest of Bassam al-Saadi, an Islamic Jihad leader, in a military raid in the occupied West Bank. A teenage member of the group was killed in a gunbattle between the Israeli troops and Palestinian militants.

Israel and the Hamas fought four wars since the militant group seized power in the coastal strip from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. The most recent was in May 2021, and tensions again soared earlier this year following a wave of attacks inside Israel, near-daily military operations in the West Bank and tensions at a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site.

Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhalah, speaking to the al-Mayadeen TV network from Iran, said “the fighters of the Palestinian resistance have to stand together to confront this aggression.” He said there would be “no red lines” and blamed the violence on Israel.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said “the Israeli enemy, who started the escalation against Gaza and committed a new crime, must pay the price and bear full responsibility for it.”

Islamic Jihad is smaller than Hamas but largely shares its ideology. Both groups are opposed to Israel's existence and have carried out scores of deadly attacks over the years, including the firing of rockets into Israel. It's unclear how much control Hamas has over Islamic Jihad, and Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a tight blockade over the territory since the Hamas takeover. Israel says the closure is needed to prevent Hamas from building up its military capabilities, while critics say the policy amounts to collective punishment.

Mohammed Abu Selmia, director of the Shifa hospital, the largest in Gaza, said hospitals faced shortages after Israel imposed a full closure on Gaza earlier this week. He said there were enough supplies and essential drugs to sustain hospitals for five days in normal times, but that with a new round of fighting underway, “they may run out at any moment.”

Israel called off an expected fuel delivery for Gaza's sole power plant, which was expected to shut down early Saturday if the fuel did not enter the territory. Even when the plant is running at full capacity, Gazans still endure daily power outages that last several hours.

Earlier Friday, a couple of hundred Israelis protested near the Gaza Strip on Friday to demand the return of the remains of two Israeli soldiers held by Hamas.

The protesters were led by the family of Hadar Goldin, who along with Oron Shaul was killed in the 2014 Gaza war. Hamas is still holding their remains, as well as two Israeli civilians who strayed into Gaza and are believed to be mentally ill, hoping to exchange them for some of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Israel says there can be no major moves toward lifting the blockade until the soldiers’ remains and captive civilians are released. Israel and Hamas have held numerous rounds of Egyptian-mediated talks on a possible swap.


Krauss reported from Ottawa, Ontario. Associated Press reporter Ariel Schalit in Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, Israel, contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP World News - International incidents
© Copyright 2022
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Israeli strikes on Gaza kill 9, including senior militant
Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed at least nine people, including a senior militant, and wounded 55 others
1:03PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Stocks falling as hot jobs data suggests Fed hikes not over
Stocks are swinging lower Friday following a blockbuster report on the U.S. jobs market that suggested the Fed won't soon rein in its aggressive rate hikes
1:03PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Economist: Alex Jones, his company worth up to $270 million
An economist says conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his company Free Speech Systems are worth up to $270 million
12:55PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
China halts climate, military ties over Pelosi Taiwan visit
China says it is canceling or suspending dialogue with the U.S. on a range of issues from climate change to military relations and anti-narcotics efforts in retaliation for a visit this week to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
12:35PM ( 42 minutes ago )
Ex-police Lt. arrested after fatally shooting DC officer
A retired police lieutenant has been arrested after police say he fatally shot a fellow law enforcement officer Thursday during a training exercise at a Washington D
12:29PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Musk countersuit accuses Twitter of fraud
Elon Musk accused Twitter of fraud in a countersuit over his aborted $44 billion deal for the social media company, which he said held back necessary information and misled his team about its true user base
12:24PM ( 54 minutes ago )
AP National News
Meta quieter on election misinformation as midterms loom
Facebook owner Meta is quietly curtailing some safeguards designed to thwart voting misinformation or foreign interference in elections even as the U.S. midterms approach
11:14AM ( 2 hours ago )
Spain leads Europe in monkeypox, struggles to check spread
Spain is struggling to curtail Europe's leading monkeypox outbreak since the disease spread beyond Africa
10:55AM ( 2 hours ago )
Israeli strikes on Gaza kill 7, including senior militant
Palestinian officials say Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed at least seven people, including a senior militant, and wounded 40 others
10:50AM ( 2 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
In France, a battle to save weakened whale lost in the Seine
French environmentalists are hoping to feed a catch of herring to a worryingly thin Beluga whale that has strayed far from its Arctic habitat into the Seine River
11:44AM ( 1 hour ago )
From Mecca to the Vatican, exploring sacred sites with VR
Worshippers, tourists and visitors around the world are increasingly joining virtual reality spiritual trips to some of Earth’s most sacred sites
9:33AM ( 3 hours ago )
Pelosi: China cannot isolate Taiwan by preventing visits
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says China will not be able to isolate Taiwan by preventing U.S. officials from traveling there
8:44AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP World News
China summons European diplomats over statement on Taiwan
China says it summoned European diplomats in the country to protest statements issued by the Group of Seven nations and the European Union criticizing threatening Chinese military exercises surrounding Taiwan
3:00AM ( 10 hours ago )
China conducts 'precision missile strikes' in Taiwan Strait
China says it has conducted “precision missile strikes" in the Taiwan Strait as part of military exercises by its navy, air force and other departments in six zones surrounding the island
10:46PM ( 14 hours ago )
Inspectors OK 1st Ukraine grain ship but no sign yet of more
The first grain ship to leave Ukraine under a Black Sea wartime deal has passed inspection in Istanbul and is heading on to Lebanon
11:06PM ( 1 day ago )
AP World News - International incidents
Stocks falling as hot jobs data suggests Fed hikes not over
Stocks are swinging lower Friday following a blockbuster report on the U.S. jobs market that suggested the Fed won't soon rein in its aggressive rate hikes
1:03PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Amazon to buy vacuum maker iRobot for roughly $1.7B
Amazon on Friday announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire the vacuum cleaner maker iRobot for approximately $1.7 billion
1:01PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Economist: Alex Jones, his company worth up to $270 million
An economist says conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his company Free Speech Systems are worth up to $270 million
12:55PM ( 23 minutes ago )
More storms bring renewed flood threat in hard-hit Kentucky
Thunderstorms have returned to parts of Kentucky already reeling from devastating floods
12:51PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Hourly workers still have leverage as US hiring booms
As inflation skyrockets, hourly workers keep changing jobs in pursuit of higher wages
12:50PM ( 28 minutes ago )