The rocket attacks against Israel continued at night, but according to the military spokesman, the Iron Dome air defense system operates with ninety-five percent efficiency and successfully intercepted the projectiles aimed at Israeli residential areas. About thirty of the 160 Palestinian rockets landed in the Gaza Strip.
In Operation Dawn, announced Friday afternoon, Israel struck dozens of Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, including at least six weapons workshops, two weapons depots, six observation posts and five rocket launch sites.
About 20 Islamic Jihad activists were arrested in the West Bank, including the well-known Najah Kabaiba, who had previously been detained in an Israeli prison. There were no injuries during the detentions.
Israel is preparing for a week-long operation
“If necessary, Jabari will not be the last target,” the Israeli military said, referring to the targeted air strike that started the fighting on Friday afternoon, in which Tayshir Jabari, one of the most important military commanders of the Islamic Jihad organization, was executed. So far, at least ten people have lost their lives in the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, including 2-3 civilians – one of them was a 5-year-old girl – and at least 80 have been injured.
Abdullah Kadom, head of Islamic Jihad’s anti-tank system, was also killed in the Israeli airstrikes. “The two of them (with Jabari) were behind the attack threats in the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli army said.
The Islamist organization Hamas, which controls the zone, has so far not intervened in the fighting or launched rockets. According to the paper’s previous reports, Jerusalem is trying to prevent Hamas from participating through Egyptian mediation.
However, two other organizations joined Islamic Jihad: the third largest grouping in the region, the Resistance Committees, which were created during the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, at the beginning of the 2000s by former members of Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad, and Fatah party’s Gaza armed unit, Suhada al-Aqsa.
The Israeli forces have announced that there are currently no negotiations with Islamic Jihad on a cessation of hostilities. “We are preparing for a one-week operation,” the army spokesman emphasized, then added: “This is what the political leadership and the chief of staff have decided for us.”
In Israel, out of fear of rocket attacks from Gaza, bathing on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea was prohibited, and extraordinary precautions were introduced, especially in the area close to the Gaza Strip, reports the Hungarian Telegraph Office. The Israelis spent the night from Friday to Saturday in shelters in the immediate vicinity of the zone.
The United States says Israel has the right to defend itself
The Jewish opposition parties assured the government and the army of their support, while the Joint List of Arab parties condemned the Israeli leadership for launching Operation Dawn.
“The United States firmly believes that Israel has the right to defend itself,” US Ambassador to Israel Tom Neides wrote on his Twitter account. “We are in contact with various parties and appeal to all concerned to remain calm,” he added.
“Israel is working to protect itself and its citizens, and to achieve its goal it will take targeted and decisive action against terrorists and perpetrators of terrorism,” Defense Minister Beni Ganz said during a meeting with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Ganz provided operational information on the operation and efforts to restore peace and stability in the Gaza Strip.
Israel on Friday afternoon launched an operation called “Dawn Break” in the Gaza Strip against Islamic Jihad, as the terrorist group threatened to retaliate for several days after the arrest this week of one of its senior West Bank officials, Bassam al-Saadi.
In the last four days, Israel has closed roads in areas close to the zone due to the threats and declared a special situation with precautionary measures for the local civilian population.
Since the takeover of power by the jihadist movement Hamas in 2007, Israel and Egypt have kept the area inhabited by 2.3 million Palestinians under a strict blockade, where the population lives in poverty and unemployment.
The Israeli army closed the border crossings on Tuesday, leaving thousands of Gazans with Israeli work permits stranded in their homes. Due to the border closure, the delivery of diesel necessary for the operation of the Gaza power plant also slowed down. The director of the facility warned on Thursday that the only power plant could stop due to lack of fuel.
There have been several wars between Israel and armed organizations in the Gaza Strip, the most recent in May 2021. According to local authorities, 260 Palestinians, including many militants, and 13 Israelis, including a soldier, died in the 11-day war.