Rays of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, seen from Ashkelon.
Salvoes of rockets were fired Friday from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, after Israeli strikes targeting the armed group Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian enclave where fighters and civilians, including a child, died.
Israeli forces continued to shell Gaza and Islamic Jihad sent rockets towards the Jewish state in the early hours of Saturday.
As of 4:30 a.m. (local time), warnings of Israeli airstrikes and strikes had diminished, at least temporarily.
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, 19 of whom are operatives associated with the Palestinian organization, the army said Israeli in a statement.
On Friday, more than 100 rockets were launched by the Al-Quds brigades towards Israeli soil, shots presented by this armed branch of Islamic Jihad as a first response to the Israeli strikes which notably killed one of the leaders of the group, Tayssir Al-Jabari.
In the Middle East, the Gaza Strip is again the scene of clashes. Israeli army fire killed at least 15 people, including a 5-year-old girl and around 50 injured. In response, rockets were launched from Gaza towards towns in southern Israel. A series of events which raises fears of an aggravation of tensions in a region already undermined by instability. Report by Lise Villeneuve.
Warning sirens sounded in several locations in southern Israel, but no information was immediately available about possible casualties.
The Israeli army estimated that it killed 15 Islamic Jihad fighters in Gaza in its strikes which began in the afternoon and continued into the evening.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza reported ten dead, including a five-year-old girl, and 55 injured.
The Jewish state presented its raids as a preemptive attack against Islamic Jihad, according to an Israeli military spokesman, Richard Hecht.
Israel carried out a counter-attack operation precise terrorism against an immediate threat, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on television. Islamic Jihad is a proxy for Iran that wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis. […] We will do whatever it takes to defend our people, he added.
The first salvo of strikes notably targeted a residential area in the center of Gaza City. AFP journalists saw injured people being evacuated by the emergency services, firefighters working to put out fires and residents crowding into morgues.
Palestinians hold placards bearing the likeness of Islamic Jihad commander Tayssir Al-Jabari, killed in an Israeli airstrike.
Hundreds of people attended the evening in Gaza at the funeral of Tayssir Al-Jabari, an AFP team found.
The Zionist enemy started this aggression and should expect us to fight relentlessly, Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ziad al-Nakhala said in an interview with Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV. , in Tehran, the Iranian capital.
“There will be no red lines in this battle […] Tel Aviv and other Zionist towns will be targets of resistance missiles.
— Ziad al-Nakhala, Secretary General of Islamic Jihad
The raids on the territory of 2.3 million people, under Israeli blockade, come after the arrest on Monday of an Islamic Jihad leader in the occupied West Bank, Bassem Saadi.
Since then, the Israeli authorities have feared reprisal attacks from Gaza, an enclave controlled by the Islamists of Hamas and where Islamic Jihad is well established.
L& #x27;army had deployed reinforcements nearby, including tanks; roads had been blocked and trains removed.
“To our enemies, and especially to the leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, I would like to emphasize: your time is running out.
— Benny Gantz, Israeli Defense Minister
In Ramallah in the West Bank, the Palestinian presidency condemned Israeli aggression and held the Jewish state responsible for the dangerous escalation.
In the meantime, Egypt is trying to mediate to calm the tensions.
An Egyptian security source told AFP that Cairo's mediation efforts had been ongoing since Friday. We hope to reach a consensus for a return to calm as soon as possible, the source said.
Israeli army spokesman Richard Hecht had previously refers to Egyptian mediation when briefing reporters on the bombings, without giving specifics.
An Egyptian source said that an Islamic Jihad delegation could visit Cairo on Saturday. Hamas was also present during the talks with Egypt.
Its leader, Ismaïl Haniyeh, based in Doha, spoke with the Egyptian intelligence services in about the violence, according to a statement from Hamas.
Egypt has historically been a great mediator between Israel and the armed groups present in Gaza: last May, the country brokered the ceasefire that ended an 11-day conflict.
< p class="e-p">Israel has imposed a strict blockade since 2007 on Gaza, a territory plagued by poverty and unemployment.
The Israeli army had ordered the closure of border crossings, which forced thousands of Gazans, holders of work permits in Israel, to stay at home. The shutdown has slowed the delivery of diesel, needed to power Gaza's power station.
The only power station is at risk of closing due to a lack of fuel, it was reported on Thursday its director.
The 50 or so people who leave the enclave daily for treatment have also been affected, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).< /p>
Israel's latest strikes on Gaza targeted a Hamas position on July 19 after a shot fired from the enclave.