On Saturday, Israel intensified its operations against the Islamic Jihad movement in the Gaza Strip, and launched violent air strikes, while the Islamic Jihad movement responded by firing a barrage of missiles, in the most serious escalation of violence in the region since last year’s war.
The Israeli army said that it expects to continue bombing the Gaza Strip from the air for a week, noting, on Saturday, that there are currently no talks on a ceasefire with the Islamic Jihad.
An army spokesman told AFP that the Israeli army was “preparing to continue the operation for a week… and no ceasefire negotiations are currently underway,” confirming reports in the Israeli media.
On Saturday, two Palestinian citizens were killed in an Israeli bombing of a car in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, according to Al-Hurra correspondent.
The correspondent said that the bombing resulted in “a number of injuries.” She also reported that an Israeli bombardment targeted “a motorcycle in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, which resulted in two injuries, one of them seriously.”
The correspondent added that Israeli planes “fired two warning missiles, and then F-16 missiles bombed a house belonging to the Shamlakh family, west of Gaza City, and another house belonging to the Al-Buraim family was targeted in Gaza City.”
And she added that an Israeli bombardment targeted “a residential apartment in the Tel Al-Hawa neighborhood, west of Gaza City, and the casualties were transferred from the place, and the Hittin site in Khan Yunis was targeted.”
For his part, Al-Hurra correspondent in Jerusalem reported that sirens sounded in towns tens of kilometers from the Gaza Strip.
He said that “two Israeli soldiers were slightly wounded in the Eshkol Regional Council, by mortar shrapnel.”
power station stopped
The only power plant in the Gaza Strip stopped working, Saturday, after the fuel ran out, according to a spokesman for the Electricity Company, five days after Israel closed a crossing with Gaza.
“The power plant in Gaza has stopped due to a lack of fuel, and the electricity will be cut off for 16 hours,” Electricity Company spokesman Muhammad Thabet told AFP.
Thabet explained that the Electricity Distribution Company will adopt a “hard emergency plan to provide four hours of electricity connection every 24 hours,” noting that “the situation is very difficult and that stopping the station will negatively affect all aspects of life.”
The Gaza Strip needs between 500 and 550 megawatts, as the station, which is the only one in the Strip, provides about 60 megawatts, and Israeli energy companies provide about 120 megawatts to the Strip.
Since last Monday morning, Israel has completely closed the Kerem Shalom commercial crossings in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip and Beit Hanoun (Erez) for individuals in the northern Gaza Strip.
On the other hand, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz held, on Saturday, a security consultation session with Chief of Staff General Aviv Kohavi, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Palestinian Territories, Major General Ghassan Alyan, and the Director General of the Ministry of Defense.
At the end of the session, Gantz instructed “to continue offensive activities against Islamic Jihad, taking into account taking steps to thwart the shooting at Israeli territory.”
The Israeli army is preparing to provide the necessary aid and support to Israeli citizens, especially in the areas near the border.
Israel announced that it had to launch a “preemptive” operation against the Islamic Jihad movement, stressing that the group was planning an imminent attack after days of tension at the Gaza border.
The Israeli army announced the arrest of 19 people it said were Islamic Jihad members in the West Bank, in addition to the arrest of another person.
Both Israel and Islamic Jihad confirmed the killing of a prominent leader in the movement, Taysir al-Jabari, in a strike targeting a building west of Gaza City, on Friday.
Islamic Jihad said the Israeli bombing was a “declaration of war” before it launched a barrage of rockets at Israel.
Tensions escalated last week after Israeli forces arrested a leader of the Islamic Jihad movement in the West Bank, prompting the movement to threaten revenge.
During the past few days, and before the start of the military operation, which the Israeli army called “the truthful dawn”, a state of alert prevailed and some nearby axes overlooking the border with Gaza were closed for fear of shooting from the Palestinian side, after the arrest of the leader of the Islamic Jihad movement in the West Bank. Bassam Al-Saadi earlier this week.
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