Fifteen people, including a leader of the armed group Islamic Jihad and a child according to the Palestinians, were killed Friday in Israeli strikes targeting the Palestinian organization in the Gaza Strip.• Read also: < /strong>The Israeli army destroys the homes of Palestinians accused of murder
The Israeli army estimates the death toll at fifteen and stresses that the raids on Gaza are not finished.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza had for its part reported eight dead, “including a five-year-old girl”, and one of its leaders, Tayssir Al-Jabari.
Friday afternoon the Israeli army had announced in a press release that it was “in the process of striking the Gaza Strip”, and specified that this operation was aimed at the Islamic Jihad organization, an Islamist organization, considered terrorist by Israel, the European Union and the States United States.
“The enemy has started a war against our people and we must collectively defend ourselves and our people, we will not allow the policies of our enemy to undermine our resistance”, reacted the Islamic Jihad after the first raids. p>
Witnesses and Palestinian security sources told AFP they saw several strikes, including one in central Gaza City. AFP journalists saw the injured being evacuated by the emergency services and firefighters working to put out fires.
The raids come after the arrest on Monday of an Islamic Jihad leader in the occupied West Bank, Bassem Saadi. The Israeli authorities feared reprisal attacks from the Gaza Strip, an enclave controlled by Hamas Islamists where Islamic Jihad is well established.
“To our enemies, and especially to the leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, I would like to insist: your time is running out. The threat (to southern Israel, editor's note) will be eliminated one way or another,” Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement.
The prime minister Israeli Yair Lapid assured him that the security forces would act “against Islamic Jihad terrorists to eliminate the threat they pose to the citizens of Israel”.
“Anyone who tries to harm Israel must know: we will find you,” he assured.
The Jewish state has imposed a strict blockade since 2007 on Gaza, an enclave of 2.3 million inhabitants undermined by poverty and unemployment and governed by the Islamists of the Hamas movement.
The Israeli army had Tuesday ordered the closure of border crossings, forcing thousands of Gazans, holders of work permits in Israel, to stay at home. The shutdown has slowed the delivery of diesel, usually trucked in from Egypt or Israel and needed to power Gaza's power plant.
This unique plant is at risk of closing due to a lack of fuel , warned its director on Thursday.
About 50 people who normally leave the enclave daily for treatment have also been affected, according to the World Health Organization.
Israel and armed groups in Gaza have fought several wars, the last of which was in May 2021.
Israel's last strikes on Gaza were on July 19. The Israeli army had targeted a Hamas position after a shot from the enclave.