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Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said his country has “zero tolerance” for attacks from Gaza but “no interest” in a broader struggle.

Israel unleashed a spate of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Friday that have killed at least 10 people, including a senior fighter, and wounded dozens, according to Palestinian officials. Israel said it was targeting the Islamic Jihad militant group in response to an “imminent threat” following the arrest of another senior militant in the occupied West Bank earlier this week.

Palestinian militants launched rocket fire hours later as air raid sirens wailed in central and southern Israel, bringing the sides closer to all-out war. Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers have fought four wars and several minor battles over the past 15 years at unbelievable costs for the territory’s 2 million Palestinian residents.

An explosion was heard in Gaza City where smoke billowed from the seventh floor of a tall building on Friday afternoon. A video released by the military showed strikes in which three watchtowers containing suspected militants were blown up.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said his country has “zero tolerance” for attacks from Gaza but “no interest” in a broader struggle.

The violence represents an early test for Lapid, who took over the role of acting prime minister before the November elections, in which he hopes to retain the position. He has experience in diplomacy, having served as foreign minister in the outgoing government, but his security credentials are tenuous.

Hamas also faces a dilemma in deciding whether to join a new struggle barely a year after the last war wreaked widespread havoc. Since then there has been almost no reconstruction and the isolated coastal area is riddled with poverty, with unemployment hovering around 50%.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said a 5-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman were among the dead and that another 55 people were injured. No distinction was made between civilians and militants. The Israeli military said around 15 militants were killed, according to initial estimates.

Islamic Jihad said Taiseer al-Jabari, its commander for northern Gaza, was among those killed. He had succeeded another militant Killed in an airstrike in 2019. Hundreds marched in a funeral procession for him and others who were killed, with many of the mourners waving Palestinian flags and Islamic Jihad banners as they called for revenge.

Israel’s Kan broadcaster later showed footage of at least two missiles being intercepted as air raid sirens sounded. An explosion was heard in Tel Aviv. There was no immediate news of casualties on the Israeli side.

A few hundred people gathered outside the Shifa Hospital morgue in Gaza City. Some stepped in to identify loved ones, only to reemerge in tears. One shouted, “May God have vengeance on spies,” referring to Palestinian whistleblowers working with Israel.

An Israeli military spokesman said it launched the attacks in response to an “imminent threat” posed by two militant squads armed with anti-tank missiles. The spokesman, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said al-Jabari was deliberately targeted and was responsible for “multiple attacks” on Israel.

Secretary of Defense Benny Gantz, meanwhile, approved an order to call up 25,000 reserve troops if needed. And the military announced a “special situation” on the home front, with schools closed and other activities restricted in communities within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of the border.

Israel earlier this week closed roads around Gaza and sent reinforcements to the border as it prepared for a revenge attack after Monday’s arrest of Bassam al-Saadi, a leader of Islamic Jihad, in a military attack in the occupied West Bank. A teenage member of the group was killed in a shootout between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants.

Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since the militant group seized control of the coastal strip from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. The last was in May 2021 and Tensions rose again earlier this year after a spate of attacks in Israel, near-daily military operations in the West Bank and tensions at a hot-spot in the holy site of Jerusalem.

Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhalah told Iran’s al-Mayadeen TV channel, “Palestinian resistance fighters must stand together to confront this aggression.” He said there would be “no red lines” and did Israel responsible for the violence.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said: “The Israeli enemy, who started the escalation against Gaza and committed a new crime, must pay the price and take full responsibility.”

But Islamic Jihad is smaller than Hamas largely shares his ideology. Both groups oppose the existence of Israel and have carried out numerous deadly attacks over the years, including firing rockets at Israel. It is unclear how much control Hamas has over Islamic Jihad, and Israel blames Hamas for all attacks from Gaza.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a tight blockade over the territory since the Hamas takeover. Israel says the shutdown is necessary to prevent Hamas from building up its military capabilities, while critics say the policy amounts to collective punishment.

Mohammed Abu Selmia, director of Shifa Hospital, the largest in Gaza, said hospitals are facing shortages after Israel imposed a full shutdown of the Gaza Strip earlier this week. He said there were enough supplies and essential medicines to keep hospitals supplied for five days in normal times, but with a new round of fighting “they could run out at any moment”.

Israel has canceled an expected fuel delivery for Gaza’s only power plant, which was due to shut down early Saturday if fuel does not reach the area. Even when the plant is operating at full capacity, Gazans still suffer daily power outages lasting several hours.

Earlier Friday, a few hundred Israelis protested near the Gaza Strip to demand the return of the remains of two Israeli soldiers being held by Hamas.

The protesters were led by the family of Hadar Goldin, who was killed along with Oron Shaul in the 2014 Gaza war. Hamas is still holding her remains, as well as two Israeli civilians who strayed into the Gaza Strip and are believed to be mentally ill, in hopes of exchanging them for some of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel.

Israel says there can be no major steps to lift the blockade until the remains of the soldiers and captured civilians are released. Israel and Hamas have held numerous Egyptian-brokered talks on a possible swap.

Krauss reported from Ottawa, Ontario. Associated Press Reporter Ariel Shalit of Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, Israel, contributed to this report. Israeli airstrikes on Gaza: 10 dead, including senior militants

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza: 10 dead, including senior militants – World Time Todays

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