Israel-Gaza conflict escalates as both sides continue attacks
After Israeli aircraft bombed Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, Palestinian militants resumed rocket fire on Israel early on Saturday, escalating the fighting into its fifth day.
The violence has left at least 33 Palestinians and one Israeli dead, as Egypt attempts to mediate a truce. This flare-up is part of over a year of renewed Israeli-Palestinian violence that has resulted in the deaths of over 140 Palestinians and at least 19 Israelis and foreigners since January.
In response to the rocket fire, Israelis in border communities had to seek shelter in bomb shelters. Although there were no reports of casualties, the fighting has already resulted in the deaths of at least four women and six children in densely populated Gaza, which has been blockaded by Israel and Egypt since 2007.
Since Tuesday, when Israeli forces launched a campaign against the group, claiming it was planning attacks, six top Islamic Jihad commanders have been killed. Islamic Jihad is the largest armed group in Gaza after the ruling Islamist Hamas and has fired almost 1,000 rockets, some deep into Israel. One woman was killed on Thursday when an apartment in a Tel Aviv suburb was struck by a rocket.
Islamic Jihad does not believe in coexistence with Israel and instead seeks its destruction.
Top ministers in Israel’s religious nationalist government have ruled out any state sought by Palestinians in territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
The military claimed it struck Islamic Jihad command centers and rocket launchers in its pre-dawn operations, and the grainy black and white aerial footage showed explosions and clouds of smoke rising from bombed sites.