Tension has been high between Israel and Islamic Jihad since Friday. Israeli forces continued to bombard the Gaza Strip on Saturday and the armed group for its part sent rockets towards the Jewish state. Authorities in the Palestinian enclave reported 15 dead, including a five-year-old girl, and 125 injured in Israeli shelling. Two people were injured in Israel by shrapnel, according to the emergency services. The Israeli army is preparing for “a week” of raids on the Gaza Strip.
For the first time since this new outbreak of violence that began on Friday, warning sirens sounded in the Israeli metropolis of Tel Aviv at the end of the afternoon. So far, they had sounded in localities near Gaza, from where the Islamic Jihad fired rockets in response to strikes by the Israeli army. The armed wing of the Palestinian group, the Al-Quds Brigades, confirmed in a short statement that it had fired “a major barrage of rockets” towards the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Sderot. On Friday, they claimed they had sent more than 100 rockets into Israeli soil.
“The battle is only at its beginning,” said Mohammed Al-Hindi, an official of the organization, in a press release. And this after Egyptian sources told AFP that Cairo, a historic intermediary between Israel and the armed groups in Gaza, was trying to establish a mediation.
19 Islamic Jihad operatives arrested in West Bank
Israel announced in the early hours of Saturday morning the arrest of 19 members of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank. Twenty people were arrested by soldiers and agents of the Shin Bet security services, “of which 19 are members associated with the Palestinian terrorist organization Islamic Jihad”, the Israeli army said in a press release. This is the worst confrontation between the Jewish state and armed organizations in Gaza since the eleven-day war in May 2021, which left 260 dead on the Palestinian side, including combatants, and 14 dead in Israel, including a soldier, according to local authorities.
A military spokesman said the army was “preparing for a week-long operation” and “is not currently conducting ceasefire negotiations” after reports that Egypt is trying to establish a mediation to calm the situation in the Palestinian enclave where exchanges of fire continue.
“Israel conducted a precise counterterrorism operation against an immediate threat,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on television Friday. “Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy that wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis. (…) We will do whatever it takes to defend our people,” he added.
No more electricity for lack of fuel
For 24 hours, Israel has claimed to target sites belonging to the Islamic Jihad, of which 15 fighters have been killed according to the Israeli army. Among them, a commander-in-chief of the group, Tayssir Al-Jabari. This new escalation, the worst between the two enemies since a blitzkrieg last year, has already deprived the small tongue of land wedged between Egypt, the Mediterranean and Israel and its 2.3 million inhabitants of their only central electric.
It “stopped (working) due to a shortage” of fuel, the electricity company said on Saturday after the Jewish state, which has imposed a blockade on Gaza since 2007, sealed off border crossings in recent days. , effectively interrupting diesel deliveries.
Due to the power cuts, the coming hours will be “crucial and difficult”, the Ministry of Health in Gaza has warned. The UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator (Ocha) in the Palestinian Territories, Lynn Hastings, called for allowing the entry into the enclave of “fuel, food and medical supplies”. In Gaza City, residents have holed up in their homes all day, an AFP journalist noted.
Paris “calls on all parties to restraint”
France “expressed its deep concern at the ongoing escalation in Gaza and deplores the Palestinian civilian casualties. It condemns the rocket attacks on Israeli territory and reiterates its unconditional attachment to Israel’s security. France calls on all parties to exercise restraint to avoid any further escalation, of which the civilian populations would be the first victims”. Paris also recalled “the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace, dignity and security, and the need to restore a political horizon with a view to a just and lasting peace”.
The European Union is following the violence in the Gaza Strip with “deep concern” and calls on all parties to exercise “maximum restraint” in order to avoid a new escalation, the spokesman for the head of diplomacy said on Saturday. European Josep Borrell. “Israel has the right to protect its civilian population, but everything must be done to prevent a wider conflict, which would primarily affect the civilian populations on both sides and lead to new victims and more suffering,” insisted Peter Stano.
For its part, Russia, through its Foreign Ministry, said it was “deeply concerned” and also called for “maximum restraint”. “We observe with deep concern the development of events, which may lead to a resumption of full-scale military confrontation and further aggravate the already deplorable humanitarian situation in Gaza,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. , in a statement, calling on “all parties involved to exercise maximum restraint”.
Tehran: Palestinians are “not alone”
General Hossein Salami, the leader of the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, asserted that the Palestinians were “not alone” in their fight against Israel. “Today, all jihad capabilities against the Zionists are on the ground in united formation to work to liberate Jerusalem and uphold Palestinian rights,” the general, whose country is the main backer of the Palestinians, wrote in a statement. Islamic Jihad. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, for his part, considered that Israel had “again shown the world its nature as an occupier and an aggressor”.