Highlights

  • 7 killed in airstrikes by Israel on Gaza
  • Strikes amid tensions with Israel and Islamic Jihad militant group
  • Senior militant commander killed in Israel's attack

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7 killed in Israeli strike on Gaza as tensions flare up again

The strikes risk igniting yet another war in the territory, which is ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas and is home to about 2 million Palestinians.

Israel unleashed a wave of airstrikes in Gaza on Friday, killing at least seven people, including a senior militant, and wounding another 40, according to Palestinian officials.

Israel said it was targeting the Islamic Jihad militant group amid days of heightened tensions following the arrest of a senior militant in the occupied West Bank earlier this week.

The strikes risk igniting yet another war in the territory, which is ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas and is home to about 2 million Palestinians.

The assassination of a senior militant would likely be met by rocket fire from Gaza, pushing the region closer to all-out war.

A blast could be heard in Gaza City, where smoke poured out of the seventh floor of a tall building on Friday afternoon.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said seven people were killed, including a 5-year-old girl, and at least 40 were wounded.

Islamic Jihad said a Gaza commander, Taiseer al-Jabari, was among those killed.

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The Israeli military said it was targeting Islamic Jihad in an operation named “Breaking Dawn.” It also announced a “special situation” on the home front, with schools closed and limits placed on other activities in communities within 80 kilometers 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 the arrest of the Islamic Jihad leader in the occupied West Bank on Monday.

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 and several smaller skirmishes in the 15 years since the militant group seized power in the coastal strip from rival Palestinian forces.

The most recent war 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.

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