13 Palestinians killed in latest Israeli strikes on Gaza
May 9, 2023 10:11 AM
At least 13 people including three Islamic Jihad leaders have been killed in what Israeli forces said were air attacks on members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement in the Gaza Strip.
The health ministry of the Hamas-controlled territory confirmed the toll. The health officials said that nine of the 13 people who were killed in the Israeli air raids were civilians including women and children.
Twenty others that were injured in the missile attacks were also civilians.
Israeli forces said that 40 aircraft and drones were involved in the attacks on the Gaza Strip that have killed 13 people.
The Israel’s military said that 10 sites were targeted in the densely-populated coastal enclave which it described as military compounds and locations for the production of weapons.
An AFP journalist in Gaza saw the top of a building on fire after the strikes as well as ambulances evacuating victims.
The Israeli army said it had targeted three leaders of Islamic Jihad, which it considers a terrorist organisation.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement announced three of its leaders were killed in the air attacks.
The three were killed along with their wives and some of their children, the group said in a statement, which did not give details on their wives, or how many children were killed and their ages.
The deceased were identified as Jihad Al-Ghannam, Khalil Al-Bahtini, Tariq Izz Al-Deen.
In Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, an AFP photographer saw the body of a man identified as Ghannam.
"We mourn the leaders and their wives and a number of their children who were killed in a cowardly Zionist crime," Islamic Jihad said in a statement, vowing "the blood of martyrs will increase (the) resolve" of the movement.
A Palestinian policeman inspects a damaged house after an Israeli air attack in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, on May 9, 2023. AFP
The air strikes, which began a little after 2 am (2300 GMT), were still going nearly two hours later, according to AFP journalists, with a new explosion heard in the east.
The operation comes less than a week after Islamic Jihad announced a truce around Gaza -- brokered with help from Egypt -- following a fresh flare-up in violence.
Israel and Gaza Jihadists traded cross-border fire following the death in Israeli detention of Khader Adnan, who had been on hunger strike for 87 days following his arrest over ties to Islamic Jihad.
On Tuesday, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad said Israel had "scorned all the initiatives of mediators" and vowed it would "avenge the leaders" killed in the latest air strikes.
In separate statements detailing each of the Islamic movement figures killed, the Israeli army affirmed it would "continue to operate for the security of the civilians in the state of Israel".
The military presented Ghannan as "one of the most senior members of the organisation" who "was entrusted with coordinating weapons and money transfers between the Hamas terrorist organisation" and his movement.
Bahtini was "responsible for the rocket fire toward Israel in the past month", Israel said.
Izz Al-Deen was recently "planning and direction (sic) multiple attacks against Israeli" civilians in the West Bank, where he was from and which has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War.
Israel and Gaza Jihadists have fought multiple wars since Hamas took control of the Palestinian enclave in 2007.
A three-day conflict last August in Gaza caused 49 Palestinian fatalities and none on the Israeli side.
Tuesday's casualties bring to 120 the number of Palestinians killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so far this year.
Nineteen Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian have been killed over the same period, according to an AFP count based on official sources from the two sides.