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IDF says it expects ‘one-week’ operation in Gaza

UPDATE ON THE SITUATION – 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. Arrests also took place in the West Bank.

The Israeli army announced on Saturday that it was preparing to “one weekof raids on the Gaza Strip, where exchanges of fire with the Islamic jihad have already caused more than a dozen deaths on the Palestinian side.

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 fires rockets in response to strikes by the Israeli army.

SEE ALSO – Middle East: new outbreak of violence between Israel and Gaza

The Palestinian group’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, confirmed in a short statement that it fired “a heavy barrage of rocketsto the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Sderot. The Hebrew State meanwhile assured that several children in Jabalia (north) had been killed by a failed rocket attack from Islamic Jihad towards Israel.

The battle is only just beginning“, said in a press release Mohammed Al-Hindi, an official of the organization. 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.

An Israeli defense battery that is part of the Iron Dome, a system designed to intercept rockets fired from Gaza. JACK GUEZ / AFP

An Israeli military spokesman assured him that the army was preparingto a week-long operation” and “was not currently conducting ceasefire negotiations“. Gaza authorities reported 24 dead, including six children, and 125 wounded in the Israeli shelling.

On the Israeli side, two people were injured by shrapnel, according to the emergency services. The Hebrew State assured that several children in Jabalia (north) had been killed by a failed rocket attack from Islamic Jihad towards Israel. Most of the rockets were intercepted by the missile shield, the army said, while a building was damaged in Sderot and a fire broke out in the same southern sector, according to local authorities.

Hours “difficult»

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.

She “has ceased (to function) due to a shortageof 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 power cuts, the coming hours will be “crucial and difficult“warned the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

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.

Rope»

It was the arrest of an Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank earlier this week that led to this new confrontation. Fearing reprisals, the Israeli authorities claimed to be launching a “preemptive attackin Gaza, a micro-territory governed by the Islamist movement Hamas and where Islamic Jihad is well established.

Israeli forces also arrested in the West Bank, territory occupied since 1967 by the Jewish state, 19 members of the group considered terrorist by Israel, the United States and the European Union.

This is the worst confrontation between the Jewish state and armed organizations in Gaza since the May 2021 war, which in eleven days left 260 dead on the Palestinian side, including combatants, and 14 dead in Israel, including a soldier. , according to local authorities.

After the initial raids, the organization accused the Jewish state of havingstarted a war“.

For Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, it is a “precise counterterrorism operation against an immediate threat», that of the Islamic jihad, «a proxy for Iran“wanting”kill innocent israelis“.

The Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s ideological army, threatened Israel with “pay a heavy price“, ensuring that the Palestinians were not “not alone“.

Intervention of firefighters after an Israeli strike on Gaza on August 5. MOHAMMED ABED / AFP

In 2019, the death of an Islamic jihad commander in an Israeli operation had already given rise to several days of deadly exchanges of fire. Hamas, which has fought Israel in four wars since taking power in 2007, kept its distance.

For Jamal al-Fadi, professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, Hamas does not wantto be drawn into total war” and “as he does not get involved“, this new outbreak of violence should end “in the coming days“. “But if more civilians are killed, he will feel compelled to retaliate», underlines Mairav ​​Zonszein, expert of the International Crisis Group (ICG).


SEE ALSO – Raids in Gaza: an operation directed against a “immediate threat“, says the Israeli Prime Minister

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