Sunday, June 23, 2024

Three killed in fresh Israeli attacks on Gaza, Palestinians respond with dozens of rockets

At least three Palestinians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip for a second straight day, according to Palestinian health officials. A barrage of rockets has been fired from the Gaza Strip towards the occupied territories as sirens warning of incoming rocket fire sounded in Tel Aviv, as well as in central and southern Israel.

The renewed bombardment on Wednesday prompted a barrage of retaliatory rocket fire from the besieged enclave towards southern Israel.

The Israeli air raids struck multiple locations across the besieged enclave, including in the south and the north, and a number of sites belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement (PIJ).

Local media reported that several Palestinians were wounded east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Arabic media reported that Hamas, the group running the Strip, said the rockets launched from Gaza were an answer to the “massacre committed by the Israeli occupation”, as Palestinian media reported that the retaliatory rockets came “under the name of the [Gaza] factions’ joint room” which includes Hamas and other Gaza-based armed groups.

Hamas spokesperson Abdulatif al-Qanoo’ was quoted by the Palestinian Maan news agency as saying rockets fired from Gaza are part of a ‘unified resistance’.

The rockets are in response to the “massacre committed by the Zionist occupation and within the framework of self-defence,” he said in a brief statement.

“The response of the resistance is a duty … and [the response] is unified,” he added.

Daoud Shehab, a leader in Palestinian Islamic Jihad, told Al Jazeera that “the response to the assassination enjoys a national and field consensus, and the Palestinian line is one and unified.”

Palestinian factions in Gaza have also issued a joint statement.

The “resistance factions announced the implementation of ‘Operation Revenge of the Free’ in response to the assassination of the leaders of the al-Quds Brigades,” the joint statement said.

“Targeting civilian homes and assassinating our men and heroes is a red line that will be confronted with full force,” it added.

“The resistance is ready for all options and if the occupation persists with its aggression … dark days await it,” the statement read.

On the Israeli side, authorities told citizens living in towns along the Gaza fence to evacuate or remain inside shelters. Israeli hospitals announced that several settlers were hospitalized following the rocket fire, media reports say.

Israel’s Channel 13 said over 300 rockets have so far been launched from the Gaza Strip.

According to Israeli media, explosions were heard in several areas in Tel Aviv.

Israel has also closed its two commercial and people crossings with Gaza, a move that would stop the entry of goods, fuel and humanitarian aid.

The bombardment comes a day after Israeli forces attacked Gaza City and its environs, killing 15 people, including four children, in what they said was an operation targeting three PIJ commanders.

In an overnight attack, Israeli forces also killed two people in the occupied West Bank town of Qabatiya, during which a 17-year-old Palestinian was shot in the chest and transferred to hospital.

The health ministry identified the slain men as Ahmad Jamal Assaf, 19, and Warani Walid Qatanat, 24, who were shot by Israeli soldiers in Qabatiya town, south of Jenin, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

The latest victims bring the death toll in two days of Israeli bombardment to 20, including children. At least 42 others have been wounded.

The latest violence comes on the second anniversary of Israel’s 11-day aggression against Gaza.

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