January 30, 2023

attributed to him…Muhammed Salem/Reuters

JERUSALEM – Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants fired a barrage of rockets at Jerusalem early Sunday, in the latest round of fierce cross-border attacks that began Friday with Israeli strikes against the Gaza-based terror group.

The gunmen’s tremors, which occurred just after 8 a.m. Sunday, came as hundreds of Orthodox Jews celebrated a sombre fasting day by visiting a capricious holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews in Jerusalem’s Old City. Sirens were heard in villages in the nearby hills.

There were no immediate reports of injuries; Most of the rockets fired by militants over the past two days have been ineffective, with the vast majority of them being intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system or landed in open areas, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Israel pounded the besieged and impoverished coastal Gaza Strip with air strikes and artillery on Friday and Saturday, saying it was attacking Islamic Jihad military targets, including some apartment buildings. Militants fired nearly 600 rockets at Israel.

In Gaza, residents emerge after a night of bloodshed amid what has become the deadliest fire between Israel and Gaza militants in more than a year.

At least 29 people have been killed so far in Gaza, according to the health ministry there, and more than 250 have been injured. The ministry said on Sunday that among the dead were six children and four women.

attributed to him…AHMED AL-GHARBLI/AFP – Getty Images

Israel said some of these children were killed Saturday night when an Islamic Jihad rocket failed and landed in the northern Gaza Strip. The Israeli military insisted it was not operating in that area at the time and posted video footage on Sunday of what it said was the failed launch.

The army also identified what Israeli officials and analysts described as a significant operational success Saturday night by removing Khaled Mansour, a senior Islamic Jihad leader responsible for the southern region of Gaza.

After hours of uncertainty, Islamic Jihad confirmed the commander’s death in the early hours of Sunday morning. His body was found under the rubble of a building in a residential area, along with the bodies of two armed men and five civilians, including three women and a child.

The military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement said in a statement, “We affirm that the blood of the martyrs will not be in vain,” adding that the blood of the leader Khaled Mansour will ignite the battle to defend Jerusalem and Al-Mubarak. Al-Aqsa Mosque,” ​​referring to the holy site in the city revered by Jews as the Temple Mount.

The killing of Mr. Mansour came a day after the opening Israeli strikes of the campaign that eliminated the military commander of Islamic Jihad in the northern region, Taysir al-Jabari. Earlier in the week, Israel arrested a prominent figure from the group in the West Bank, leading to threats of retaliation. Israel said its initial airstrikes were preemptive, intended to prevent Islamic Jihad from pursuing those threats.

Hamas, the much larger armed Islamist group that dominates Gaza, has so far stayed out of the fight, a factor that may limit the scope and duration of the conflict.

The last major clashes in Gaza, which took place over 11 days, began in May 2021, after Hamas launched a barrage of rockets towards Jerusalem after days of Israeli-Palestinian confrontations there.

It remains unclear how long the fighting will continue. Israeli officials have said that Egypt is deeply involved in trying to secure a ceasefire.

Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Hecht, an IDF spokesman, said on Sunday that “the calm will be answered with calm, but if they continue shooting we will continue to act,” repeating a position that has been expressed several times before when Israel attempted to calm previous campaigns in Gaza.

Iyad Abu Huwaila And the Gabe Sobelman Contribute to the preparation of reports.

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