IDF strikes on Gaza and rocket attacks on Israel continue

At 11:30 a.m. (local time) on August 6, as rocket warnings continued to sound in Israeli towns adjacent to the blockaded Palestinian territory, Gaza City was paralyzed, streets deserted and shops closed, according to a AFP journalist on site.

The Israeli army continues its strikes across the enclave, targeting sites belonging to Islamic Jihad, it said. 15 fighters were killed in the raids that began on the afternoon of August 5, the army estimated, while Gaza authorities reported 11 dead, including a five-year-old girl, and more than 80 injured. Shooting from Gaza also continued, without causing any casualties or damage, according to the army.

The armed wing of Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds Brigades, said on August 5 after a salvo of more than 100 rockets towards Israeli soil that it was only a “first response” to the assassination of one of its leaders in an Israeli strike.

Overnight, Israeli forces also arrested in the West Bank, territory occupied since 1967 by the Jewish state, 19 members of Islamic Jihad, an Islamist organization considered terrorist by Israel, the United States and the European Union.

Egypt wishes to establish a mediation

It was the arrest of a leader of the group in the occupied West Bank earlier this week that led to this new armed confrontation. The Israeli authorities said they feared retaliatory actions from Gaza, a territory governed by the Islamist movement Hamas and where Islamic Jihad is also well established, and launched a “preventive attack”.

This is the worst confrontation between the Jewish state and armed organizations in Gaza since the 11-day war in May 2021, which left 260 dead on the Palestinian side, including combatants, and 14 dead in Israel, including a soldier, according to local authorities.

Egypt, a historic intermediary between Israel and the armed groups in Gaza, is trying to establish a mediation and could welcome an Islamic Jihad delegation on August 6, Egyptian officials told AFP in Gaza.

Islamic Jihad, however, ruled out the option of a ceasefire on August 6, saying “to focus on the ground”. After the first raids, the organization accused the Jewish state of having “started a war”.

“Israel conducted a precise counter-terrorism operation against an immediate threat,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on television on August 5, accusing the Islapist armed group of being “an auxiliary to Iran. who wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis”. “We will do whatever it takes to defend our people,” he said.

Since 2007, Israel has imposed a strict blockade on Gaza, an enclave of 2.3 million inhabitants undermined by poverty and unemployment. In recent days, Israel had deployed reinforcements near the enclave and ordered the closure of border crossings, forcing thousands of Gazans, holders of work permits in Israel, to stay at home. This closure has slowed the delivery of diesel, needed to power the Gaza power plant. It stopped working due to a fuel shortage, a spokesman for the electricity company said at midday.


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