By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian militants in Gaza fired dozens of rockets at Israel on Friday in response to Israeli air strikes that killed at least 10 people, including a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.

As night fell, Israeli officials said sirens sounded in the central and southern regions, while footage from Israeli broadcasters appeared to show some missiles being shot down by air defense systems. In Tel Aviv, Israel’s economic hub, witnesses said they heard explosions, but there were no reports of sirens.

Islamic Jihad, a militant group with an ideology similar to that of Hamas, the Islamist movement in power in Gaza, said it had fired more than 100 rockets into Israeli cities on Friday, including Tel Aviv. Israel’s ambulance service said there were no reports of deaths.

The attacks came just over a year after an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in May 2021 that killed at least 250 people in Gaza and 13 in Israel and devastated the blockaded enclave’s economy.

Earlier, local health officials in Gaza said at least 10 people, including a five-year-old child, had died and 55 were injured in Israeli air strikes, which came after days of heightened tensions following the arrest of a militant leader. Palestinian during the week.

An Israeli spokesman said the attacks killed Islamic Jihad commander Tayseer al-Jaabari and about 15 “terrorists”, but said the army did not have the final death toll.

The attacks came after Israel arrested Bassam al-Saadi, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad group, during an operation in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin earlier this week.

Israel later closed all Gaza crossings and some nearby roads over fears of retaliatory attacks by the group, which has a stronghold in Gaza, further restricting Palestinian movement.

“The objective of this operation is to eliminate a concrete threat against Israeli citizens and civilians living in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement.

(Reporting by Nidal al Mughrabi, Henriette Chacar, James Mackenzie)


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