Israel attacks Gaza after day of intense rocket fire by militants
(Update 3: Adds details of Israeli attack on Gaza)
Jerusalem/Gaza, May 2 (EFE).- The Israeli army on Tuesday night attacked positions in the Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian militants there who fired some 40 rockets into Israel during the day amid escalating tensions that erupted after the death of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, a high-ranking member of the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, died Tuesday morning in an Israeli jail after an 86-day hunger strike.
An Israeli military spokesman confirmed that Israel was attacking the Gaza Strip but provided no details about the targets.
In central and northern Gaza, explosions could be heard amid the buzzing and flight of drones and combat aircraft, according to Palestinian security officials in the enclave, which has been governed by the Islamist group Hamas and has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.
No injuries or worse in the bombardments were reported, although material damage was certainly caused to the homes of people near the target points, local media in Gaza reported.
In a statement, Hamas condemned the Israel bombardments and said that the strikes will not dissuade the “Palestinian resistance” from fulfilling its “national duty to defend its people.”
“This assassination (of Adnan) will not stop us from continuing our fight, we will never give up even if the Israeli crimes continue against our people,” Issam Baker, coordinator of the Palestinian political factions in Ramallah, told EFE earlier in the day.
After the Israeli attacks, air raid alarms sounded once again in Israeli communities adjacent to – or near – the Gaza Strip.
After the death of Adnan, the first Palestinian prisoner to die under such circumstances since 1983, at least 37 projectiles – 30 rockets and seven mortar rounds – were fired in several batches from Gaza throughout the day on Tuesday.
The Resistance Chamber for Joint Operations, which brings together all armed groups operating in Gaza, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, said the rocket firings were in response to Adnan’s death, adding that more barrages would be coming.
Islamic Jihad – which also has a strong military presence in Gaza – warned that Israel “will pay the price” for Adnan’s death, which sparked protests and a strike in Palestinian territories.
Some of the rockets fired from Gaza on Tuesday hit construction sites in the Israeli city of Sderot, injuring three Chinese workers, one of them suffering serious wounds but the other two only slightly hurt.
In all, after a day marked by barrages of projectiles into Israeli territory adjacent to Gaza, Israel – which usually responds militarily to any attack coming from the enclave – opted to wait until after nightfall to counterattack.
Over the past few years, there have been several extensive surges in violence between Israel and militants in Gaza.
In May 2021, a significant round of violence lasting 11 days resulted in 260 Palestinian and 13 Israeli deaths. And in August 2022, three days of intense exchanges of fire between Islamic Jihad and Israel left some 50 people dead in Gaza.
Almost 5,000 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, of whom more than 1,000 are in administrative detention, that is, without charge or trial.
More than 1 million Palestinians have been imprisoned since the start of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, including over 15,000 women, according to information from the ministry of detainees and ex-detainees affairs.