The Israel Defense Forces launched a series of strikes Friday in the Gaza Strip in what it’s calling “Operation Breaking Dawn.”
Multiple targets were struck in the Palestinian Authority-controlled area, and The Jerusalem Post and The Washington Post reported high-ranking Palestinian Islamic Jihad casualties — indicating the operation likely was intended as a decapitation strike against the terrorist organization.
Among the dead in the attacks was Tayseer al-Jabari, who had led the group’s northern command since 2019, when his predecessor was killed in an Israeli airstrike, the reports said.
According to the Jerusalem Post, al-Jabari managed coordination between Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Initial reports of his death were unconfirmed until Islamic Jihad released a statement confirming it. Images of al-Jabari’s body being carried into an ambulance later appeared on social media.
Palestinian health officials said 10 people had been killed and 55 wounded in separate strikes on Gaza City and Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, according to the Washington Post.
They said a 5-year-old girl was among the dead.
Video shared on social media revealed massive damage to a multistory building.
New footage shows the precision strike against the apartment section housing the Jihad facility and Abu Amsha pic.twitter.com/X6z3SiFFKi
— Gaza Report – اخبار غزة (@gaza_report) August 5, 2022
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the military’s goal is to protect Israeli communities and citizens, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“We will not allow anyone to threaten or harm the citizens of Israel. Whoever tries — will be hurt,” Gantz warned.
Israeli Defense Forces announce ‘Operation Dawn’ to strike Islamic Jihad terror targets in Gaza.
Finally, Israel initiates a pre-emptive attack against terrorists and does not wait for them to attack us. pic.twitter.com/VKnMQi828D
— Hananya Naftali (@HananyaNaftali) August 5, 2022
According to the outlet, Prime Minister Yair Lapid said his government “won’t allow terrorist organizations to set the agenda in the Gaza Strip and threaten the citizens of the State of Israel. Anyone who wants to harm Israel must know that we will get to them. Security forces will act against the Islamic Jihad terrorists to remove the threat from the citizens of Israel.”
Prior to the Gaza strikes, while he visited IDF southern command, Gantz warned that the threat from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad would be dealt with.
“To our enemies, and specifically to the leadership of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, I would like to emphasize: Your time is up. The threat [on this region] will be removed one way or another,” the defense minister said.
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said Israeli air force planes struck after the IDF detected threatening militant movements of men and equipment, including anti-tank units, the Washington Post reported.
He said Israel expected retaliatory strikes against Israeli civilians in the region and had placed central Israel on alert.
Hecht said the militants were “flexing and moving very, very close to the border,” adding, “We took the initiative and we haven’t finished yet.”
“We assume there will probably be some rocket attacks into the center of the country,” he said.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the IDF said it hoped Hamas would sit this fight out. On Friday, Israeli authorities allowed fuel to be shipped into Gaza in order to prevent a full shutdown of the only power plant there, without which residents would be entirely dependent on electricity from Israel.
Israeli authorities warned residents up to 50 miles from the Gaza Strip, including the major city of Tel Aviv, that there was a risk of retaliatory rocket fire.
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