Israel assaults Gaza city from the air as tension rises
At least 10 individuals were killed in an Israeli warplane raid on the embattled Gaza Strip on Friday, including an Islamic Jihad group commander and a small girl.
An apartment in the Palestine Tower in the heart of Gaza City was targeted by an airstrike, killing Taysir al-Jabari, a commander of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, the group said.
Al-Jabari and a five-year-old girl were among the at least 10 persons who died, according to the Gazan health ministry. The Israeli raids left at least 55 individuals injured, and they are currently receiving medical attention in hospitals.
The building in Gaza City’s seventh storey began to spew smoke. Teams from civil defense rushed to the location to rescue victims and extinguish a fire that the attack had started.
“We’ve just had Friday lunch and my children were playing. Suddenly a huge explosion hit the tower in which we live. We ran away. The sound was massive. We were very shocked as the place is full of civilians. I saw many casualties that were evacuated,” A resident who had blood on his clothes told Al Jazeera.
When Israel struck the neighboring Palestine Tower, Gaza-based author and activist Rana Shubair, who lives in the al-Remal neighborhood on the western side of the Gaza Strip, claimed she heard “four to five big bangs.”
“I was asleep and found myself waking up running, wondering what happened,” Shubair said.
“There was panic in the area, people running. You can imagine … the amount of horror that this caused for the people living in the building,” she added. “There were children playing … this was something really unpredictable for us.”
There were numerous explosions heard and seen around Gaza. Israeli drones used for reconnaissance were heard circling above the embattled region.
Attacks also occurred in the al-Shuja’iya neighborhood and the southern parts of Khan Younis and Rafah.
As Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system exploded, rocket firing from Gaza toward Israel might be seen as a first response to the attack.
The duty to defend oneself
According to Youmna al-Sayed of Al Jazeera, Israeli fighter jets continued to fly over the heavily populated city on Friday evening as air attacks continued in the eastern Gaza Strip as well.
The strikes come after days of conflict with the Islamic Jihad following Bassam al-detention Saadi’s in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.
They also arrived following several days of border closures, which included the closing of the Karam Abu Salem commercial crossing, which controls the flow of fuel required by Gaza’s sole power plant.
In a statement, the Islamic Jihad declared: “The enemy has begun a war targeting our people, and we all have the duty to defend ourselves and our people, and not allow the enemy to get away with its actions which are aimed at undermining the resistance and national steadfastness.”
Senior Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad called the most recent attack “a brutal crime, a massacre done by the Israeli occupation against our people.” Hamas rules the Gaza Strip.
He claimed that the factions in Gaza had kept up “excellent coordination” and were looking into what would be “the best option for the Palestinian People.”