Israeli air strikes in Gaza kill at least 15 people in two days

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Israel launched an attack in Gaza and Palestinians fired rockets into Israeli towns on Saturday, after an Israeli operation against the militant Islamic Jihad group ended more than a year of relative tranquility along the border.

On Friday, Israel killed a senior commander of the group in a surprise daytime airstrike on a skyscraper in Gaza City, prompting rocket fire in response.

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On Saturday, Israel attacked Islamic Jihad militants and hidden weapons caches in residential areas, the military said. Bomb shells hit at least five homes, witnesses said, driving huge clouds of smoke and debris into the air as explosions rocked Gaza City.

the Israeli attacks killed 15 Palestinians including at least four more Islamic Jihad militants and a child, and wounded at least 84 people, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

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Palestinian militants fired at least 200 rockets at Israel – most of them intercepted, blaring air strike sirens and sending people running into bomb shelters. There were no reports of serious casualties, the Israeli ambulance service said.

Ibrahim Shamalakh, who owns the house that was completely destroyed in the attack, said he received advance notice from the Israeli army to evacuate before he ran to safety. The residence was first hit with smaller missiles before warplanes bombed it.

“I don’t know, we are safe people, sitting in our house, we have nothing to do with anything. They called and said to evacuate the house immediately, I don’t know what happened to us. Suddenly it happened. I have no words,” Shamalakh told Reuters as residents gathered to inspect the extent of the damage.

A hospital Palestinian in Gaza said it received 13 wounded from areas that had been bombed after four homes had been hit since morning.

Egypt said it was engaged in intensive negotiations to defuse the situation. Further escalation would largely depend on whether Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza, chooses to join the fighting.

An Egyptian intelligence delegation led by Major General Ahmed Abdelkhaliq arrived in Israel on Saturday and was reportedly traveling to Gaza for mediation talks, two Egyptian security sources said. They hoped to secure a one-day ceasefire to carry out negotiations, the sources added.

Islamic Jihad has not signaled any immediate ceasefire. “The time is now for resistance, not truce,” a group official told Reuters. The group did not say how many of its members have been killed since Friday.

Israel halted planned fuel transport to Gaza just before the attack on Friday, crippling the territory’s only power plant and reducing electricity capacity to about 8 hours a day, with health officials warning that in a few days hospitals are likely to be severely affected.

The border has been largely quiet since May 2021, when 11 days of fierce fighting between militants and Israel left at least 250 dead in Gaza and 13 in Israel.

United Nations (UN) Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland said he was deeply concerned about the violence and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority condemned Israel’s attacks.

Israel has imposed special security measures in its southern territories near Gaza and is preparing to call up about 25,000 troops, according to Army Radio. The streets of towns near the border were empty.

(Additional reporting by Ahmed Mohamed Hassan in Cairo, Amir Cohen in Sderot and Eli Belzon in Ashkelon)

Source: CNN Brasil

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