12 Killed In Latest Israeli Air Attacks On Gaza

12 Killed In Latest Israeli Air Attacks On Gaza

Twelve people have been killed in Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip in what Israel’s military said was the targeting of members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.

Al Jazeera’s Youmna El Sayed, reporting from Gaza, said the Ministry of Health declared that 12 people were killed in the Gaza Strip, and at least 20 others were injured in the Israeli air attacks.

Explosions targeting residential apartments were heard at about 2 am local time on Tuesday (23:00 GMT Monday) in different parts of Gaza, El Sayed said.

“From these 12, three of them are Islamic Jihad commanders while the nine others are civilians – mostly families of these commanders, and also civilians around the apartments that were targeted,” El Sayed said.

The 20 injured people were also civilians, she said.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement announced that three of its leaders were killed in the air attacks. The deceased were identified as Jihad al-Ghannam, Khalil al-Bahtini, and Tariq Izz al-Deen.

The three were killed along with their wives and several children, the group said in a statement which did not give details on their wives or how many children were killed and their ages.

Witnesses said an explosion hit the top floor of an apartment building in Gaza City and a house in the southern city of Rafah, the Reuters news agency reported.

The Israeli army said the air attacks, codenamed “Operation Shield and Arrow”, targeted three Palestinian Islamic Jihad members who it claimed were responsible for recent rockets fired towards Israel.

Last week, Israeli missiles pounded the densely-populated Gaza Strip following rockets fired towards Israeli territory in the aftermath of the death in an Israeli prison of well-known Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan.

Adnan, an activist affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, died after nearly three months on hunger strike. Protesting against his arrest without charge, Adnan had refused to eat for 87 days, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society.

The Israeli bombardment last week damaged multiple areas in Gaza, including al-Safina, al-Baydar and near the al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, Al Jazeera’s Maram Humaid reported.

Hashel Mubarak al-Swerki, a 58-year-old father of 11, died after being severely injured by shrapnel from the Israeli attack northwest of Gaza City. Five other people were also wounded by Israeli missiles east of Beit Hanoun, in the north of the besieged strip.

Calm was restored after Qatari, Egyptian and United Nations officials intervened to broker a ceasefire agreement between Israel and armed Palestinian factions, officials said.

In anticipation of Palestinian rockets being launched in response to the air attacks on Tuesday, Israel’s military issued instructions advising Israeli residents of communities within 40km (25 miles) of Gaza to stay close to designated bomb shelters, the Associated Press news agency reported.

COGAT, a unit in the Israeli defence ministry that coordinates civilian affairs with Palestinian authorities, said two crossings with Gaza have been closed for entry and exit of people and goods until further notice, Reuters reported.

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