Top Islamic Jihad leaders among 12 killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza
Jerusalem/Gaza, May 9 (EFE).- At least 12 people, including three top commanders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, were killed on Tuesday in Israeli air attacks on Gaza, officials said.
The Israeli Air Force said it carried out the predawn airstrikes using 40 planes and drones, confirming that they targeted the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and some of its leaders, allegedly responsible for recent rocket launches into Israel.
The operation, codenamed “Shield and Arrow,” saw buildings housing PIJ officials, its weapons manufacturing units, and military compounds.
The Israeli military said that among the slain militant leaders were Khalil Bahitini, who had been responsible for launching rockets against Israel over the past month, Tareq Ezzedine, who coordinated attacks against Israelis in the occupied West Bank, and Jihad Al-Ghanam, a high-ranking leader of the movement.
Ghanam was among the Islamic Jihad leaders who coordinated with the Hamas movement that de facto rules the coastal strip.
PIJ sources confirmed to EFE that militants were in the buildings targeted in Israeli raids that also targeted military installations of the group, considered a terror organization by Israel, the US, and the European Union.
A military spokesperson said the operation was a response to the rocket attacks by Palestinian militants following the death of a prominent prisoner, Khader Adnan, who had been on a hunger strike for 87 days to protest his detention.
The Islamic Jihad military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, confirmed that the three commanders and their families, including children, were among the dead.
“As we mourn our martyr leaders, along with their mujahideen wives and a number of their children, we affirm that the blood of the martyrs will increase our resolve,” the al-Quds Brigades said.
“We will not leave our positions, and the resistance will continue, God willing.” EFE