Rocket attack underway from Gaza on southern Israel

The midday airstrikes in the Gaza Strip came a day after a series of deadly attacks targeting militant leaders.

May 10, 2023 05:24 pm | Updated 06:42 pm IST - GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip

Rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel, in Gaza on May 10, 2023.

Rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel, in Gaza on May 10, 2023. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Israeli authorities say Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have launched rockets toward southern Israel. Air raid sirens are going off across the area, warning residents.

Wednesday’s launch comes a day after Israeli airstrikes killed three militant leaders and at least 10 civilians.

Earlier in the day, Israeli aircraft struck targets in the Gaza Strip, killing at least one Palestinian and pushing the region closer toward a new round of heavy fighting.

The midday airstrikes came a day after a series of deadly attacks targeting militant leaders. Tuesday's strikes killed three senior Islamic Jihad militants and at least 10 civilians — most of them women and children. Palestinian militants have pledged to retaliate while Israel says it is prepared for a further escalation of hostilities.

The Israeli military said Tuesday it was bombing Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant infrastructure in the coastal enclave.

The army said one airstrike targeted militants traveling to a rocket launcher site in the southern Gaza Strip.

Medics said the attack killed one man and seriously wounded another. Palestinian officials could not confirm whether the men were militants.

The Israeli military has instructed residents of southern Israel to remain near bomb shelters, and schools were still closed for a second day as a precaution against rocket attacks by Palestinian militant groups in Gaza.

Israel says the attacks are a response to a barrage of rocket fire launched last week by Islamic Jihad in response to the death of one of its members from a hunger strike while in Israeli custody.

Israel says it is trying to avoid conflict with Hamas, the more powerful militant group that rules Gaza, and confine the fighting to Islamic Jihad.

But Hamas has expressed solidarity with its smaller counterpart, and the two groups often coordinate with one another.

If the violence continues, the risk of a full-blown war could increase. Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since the Islamic group, which opposes Israel's existence, took control of Gaza in 2007.

Earlier on Wednesday, the military said that Palestinian gunmen opened fire at troops in the Palestinian town of Qabatiya in the northern West Bank during an army raid. Troops returned fire, killing the two men, and confiscated their firearms, it said.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the slain men as Ahmed Assaf, 19, and Rani Qatanat, 24. The Islamic Jihad militant group later claimed the two men as its members.

Israel has been conducting near-daily military raids in the occupied West Bank for over a year to detain suspected Palestinian militants, including many from Islamic Jihad. The northern West Bank city of Jenin and its environs have been the frequent target of such raids as it has emerged as a hub of Palestinian militant activity.

Israel says the raids in the West Bank are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks.

At least 107 Palestinians, around half of them militants, have been killed by Israeli fire in the occupied West Bank since the start of 2023, according to an Associated Press tally. At least 20 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks targeting Israelis.

Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek all three areas for a future state.

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