Israeli forces expanded their offensive against Islamic Jihad on Saturday by announcing the arrest of 19 members of this armed organization in the West Bank and launching new strikes against it in Gaza.
Twenty people were arrested by Shin Bet soldiers and security service agents in operations on Saturday morning, “including 19 operatives associated with the Palestinian terrorist organization Islamic Jihad”, it said. the Israeli army said in a statement.
Israel has been carrying out strikes on the Gaza Strip since Friday afternoon, and Islamic Jihad has sent rockets into the Jewish state.
Israel presented the raids as a “pre-emptive attack” against Islamic Jihad, days after the arrest of a leader of the organization in the occupied West Bank who had raised fears of retaliatory actions, an Israeli military spokesman said. , Richard Hecht.
Islamic Jihad, an Iran-backed Islamist group, has a strong presence in Gaza and the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.
The Israeli army estimated that it had killed 15 Islamic Jihad fighters in its strikes that began Friday afternoon, including targeting weapons manufacturing sites, it said. The Ministry of Health in Gaza has reported ten dead, “including a five-year-old girl”, and 79 wounded.
The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, said having launched Friday “more than a hundred rockets” towards Israeli soil as a “first response” to the Israeli strikes which notably killed one of the leaders of the group, Tayssir Al-Jabari.
In Israel, no casualties or damage was only identified by rocket fire, the army said. It reported 70 projectiles fired from Gaza, eleven of which landed inside the Palestinian enclave under Israeli blockade.
This is the worst confrontation between the Jewish state and armed organizations in Gaza since the eleven-day war in May 2021, which left 260 dead on the Palestinian side, including combatants, and 14 dead in Israel, including a soldier, according to local authorities.