Israeli strikes kill Islamic Jihad commanders in Gaza
Israel launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip, killing at least 12 Palestinians, including three commanders of the militant group Islamic Jihad, according to Palestinian health officials. Among the dead were three women and three children, and another 20 people were injured. Israel said it launched the operation to target militants who posed an imminent threat to its citizens. Islamic Jihad has vowed to take revenge, and Gaza-based militants are expected to respond with rocket fire into Israel. Hamas, which controls the Strip, could also play a significant role. Israel officials are reportedly preparing for days of fighting.
The Israeli military used 40 warplanes and helicopters to carry out the pre-dawn air strikes across Gaza, targeting homes and causing panic among residents. Pictures showed at least two apartments with their fronts ripped away and others damaged. The Israeli military claimed its aircraft also struck 10 sites used to manufacture weapons and six Islamic Jihad military facilities. The al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, confirmed that three commanders were among those killed and identified them as Jihad Shaker al-Ghannam, Khalil Salah al-Bahtini, and Tariq Muhammad Ezzedine.
Islamic Jihad was behind recent rounds of rocket fire into Israel, some of which was sparked by the death of a Palestinian hunger striker in an Israeli prison.