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Israel hits Gaza with air attacks as tensions escalate

AT

Kabul: Israel attacked the besieged Gaza Strip with warplanes on Friday, killing at least 10 people including a commander of the Islamic Jihad group and a young girl.

Taysir al-Jabari, a commander of the al-Quds Brigades, the military arm of the Islamic Jihad, died in an air raid on an apartment in the Palestine Tower in the centre of Gaza City, the group said.

The health ministry in Gaza said at least 10 people were killed including al-Jabari and a five-year-old girl. At least 55 people were wounded and being treated at hospitals as a result of the Israeli raids.

Multiple blasts could be heard and seen throughout Gaza. Israeli reconnaissance drones could be heard hovering over the besieged enclave.

Attacks also struck the southern areas of Khan Younis and Rafah, as well as the al-Shuja’iya neighbourhood.

In the first response to the attack, rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel could be seen as Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system lit up the night’s sky with explosions.

An Israeli military spokesman said “we are assuming about 15 killed in action” in Gaza, referring to Palestinian group fighters.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said his country has “zero tolerance” for attacks from Gaza but “no interest” in a broader battle.

Earlier on Friday, the Israeli army said it was attacking Gaza, adding “a special situation has been declared on the Israeli home front”.

Ahmed Mudalal, an Islamic Jihad official in Gaza, said the group had made demands on Israel through Egyptian mediators, including the release of detained leader al-Saadi and another prisoner, a halt to West Bank raids, and the lifting of the Gaza blockade. He said they have not yet received a response.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a tight blockade on Gaza for 14 years, and critics has said the policy amounts to the collective punishment of the region’s two million Palestinian residents.

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