Rockets fired from Gaza after deadly West Bank raid
Jerusalem/Gaza, May 10 (EFE).- Rockets were fired from Gaza after the latest round of Israeli airstrikes on Wednesday, while two Palestinians died and one was wounded during a military raid in the occupied West Bank, official sources said.
The raid comes a day after at least 15 people, including three Islamic Jihad militant leaders, died in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.
“The Israeli army early this morning shot and killed two Palestinian youths identified as Ahmad Jamal Assaf, 19, and Warani Walid Qatanat, 24, during an assault on the northern West Bank town of Qabatiya, south of Jenin,” Official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.
It added that another Palestinian was injured during the operation in the Jenin area, a stronghold of Palestinian militias and a recent focus of major Israeli military operations.
A spokesman for the Israeli army confirmed the Wednesday morning raid, adding that “armed men fired from a vehicle at soldiers, who responded with fire and killed two.” An M-16 rifle and a pistol were seized in the operation, he said.
“Israeli troops raided several houses and attacked a vehicle with a hail of bullets,” Wafa said.
Meanwhile in southern Israel, dozens of rockets were fired from Gaza following the latest round of Israeli strikes targeting armed militants in the coastal enclave.
Air raid sirens were activated in the Israeli cities of Sderot, Askhelon, Ashod and Tel Lachish, as well as in various communities near the border with Gaza, the Israeli army said, shortly after it struck Islamic Jihad targets in the strip, killing at least four people, including a child, the Gaza health ministry said.
The Israeli city of Sderot, one of the closest to the strip, reported that at least nine rockets were launched there so far, all of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-aircraft system. No injuries or damage were reported.
These incidents occur 24 hours after Israel’s army launched its “Shield and Arrow” operation, which consisted of bombardments on Gaza that left 15 dead – including four children and four women – and at least 20 wounded.
Among those killed in the operation were Jalil Bahitini, Tareq Az Aldin and Jahed Ahnam, senior commanders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Islamist organization – considered an extremist organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union.
The Chamber of Joint Military Operations, which brings together the Palestinian armed factions in Gaza – including PIJ and the Islamist Hamas movement – said Israel “will pay the price of its aggression,” suggesting a possible armed response.
Israel is in a state of emergency and is preparing for “the possibility of a long escalation and on multiple fronts,” according to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant. He approved the recruitment of hundreds of reservists and authorized the evacuation of some 200 Israeli families in the surrounding area of Gaza.
Ronen Bar, director of Internal Security Service Shin Bet, said Tuesday that Az Aldin “wanted to replicate the terrorist capabilities” in the occupied West Bank through 20 terrorist cells whose objective was to kill Israelis.
A new cell of the PIJ that was beginning to make rocket launchers was recently dismantled in Jenin, which he said was a “dangerous precedent,” adding that also in Ramallah, in central West Bank, militants had resources to acquire weapons, including drones, to carry out attacks against Israelis.
“We are not going to wait for these terrorist attacks to happen, we are going to do everything possible to prevent them,” Bar said, adding that the PIJ is financed by Iran, a state hostile toward Israel.
Tuesday’s bombardments in Gaza are the Israeli response to the launch of more than 100 rockets from the enclave a week ago, allegedly orchestrated by Bahitini.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is experiencing its deadliest year since the Second Intifada in the occupied West Bank and Israeli territory, where 110 Palestinians have died in 2023 – most of them militants – in violent clashes with Israeli troops, but also civilians, including 20 minors.
On the Israeli side, 19 people have died, victims of Palestinian attacks, most of them settlers, and among them three minors.
In addition, 16 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli shelling, 15 of them on Tuesday. EFE