Senior Islamic Jihad commander dies in a crowded Gaza refugee camp

It was the second such targeted attack since Israel began its risky military offensive against the militant group just before the weekend, according to Israeli officials, who claimed to have killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander in a crowded Gaza refugee camp.

The risk of the cross-border fighting developing into a full-fledged war remained high as a result of the militant group supported by Iran firing hundreds of rockets at Israel in retaliation.

The governing Hamas organisation in Gaza, which fought an 11-day war with Israel in May 2021, appeared to be keeping a low profile for the time being, possibly out of concern for Israeli retaliation and the potential loss of economic agreements with Israel, including Israeli work permits for thousands of Gaza residents, that support its authority.

Late on Saturday, an airstrike on an apartment building in the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza resulted in the death of the Islamic Jihad commander, Khaled Mansour.

The attack also resulted in the deaths of five civilians and two additional militants, bringing the total number of Palestinian fatalities since the start of the Israeli offensive on Friday to 31.

Four women and six children were among the deceased.

More than 250 people have been injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, since Friday.

Israel claims that some of the fatalities were brought on by errant rocket fire, including a Saturday incident that left six Palestinians dead in the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

Two males were killed on Sunday when a missile in the same Jebaliya neighbourhood struck a residence.

Israeli officials claimed they were looking into whether an errant rocket had hit the area, but the Palestinians blamed Israel.

When the missile struck, Mansour, the Islamic Jihad commander for southern Gaza, was inside a member of the group’s apartment.

The missile flattened the three-story building and severely damaged nearby homes.

Wissam Jouda, who lives adjacent to the targeted building, claimed, “Suddenly, without warning, the house next to us was bombed and everything became black and dusty with smoke in the blink of an eye.”

Another neighbour, Ahmed al-Qaissi, reported that his wife and son were among the injured and had been hit by shrapnel.

Al-Qaissi consented to have a portion of his home demolished in order to create room for rescue personnel.

On Sunday afternoon, as Mansour’s burial was starting in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said it was attacking alleged “Islamic Jihad missile launch positions.”

As the explosions from the strikes rumbled Gaza, smoke could be seen coming from them.

A few hours later, sirens wailed in central Israel as Israeli airstrikes and rocket fire resumed.

The current round of warfare was started by Israel on Friday with the targeted killing of the commander of Islamic Jihad for northern Gaza, and the Rafah strike was the bloodiest thus far.

Israel has claimed that it took action against the militant group in response to specific threats of an impending attack, but it has not given any additional information.

Less than three months before a general election in which he is running for re-election, caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid, an experienced diplomat but unproven in leading a war, launched the offensive.

Continuing to hit targets in Gaza “in a targeted and responsible fashion to reduce to a minimum the harm to noncombatants,” Lapid said in a statement on Sunday.

The attack that killed Mansour, according to Lapid, was “an outstanding feat.”

Lapid promised that the operation would go on for as long as was required.

According to Israel, 15 militants were killed as a result of airstrikes.

Compared to Hamas, Islamic Jihad has fewer fighters and followers, and nothing is known about its arsenal of weapons.

Both organisations support the annihilation of Israel, but they have different goals; Hamas is restricted by requirements of government.

According to the Israeli army, terrorists in Gaza fired about 580 missiles at Israel.

Many of them, according to the army’s air defences, were intercepted, with two of them being fired at Jerusalem when they were shot down.

Compared to Hamas, Islamic Jihad has fewer fighters and supporters.

For the first time since the Israel-Hamas conflict last year, air raid sirens were heard in the Jerusalem region on Sunday.

Jerusalem frequently becomes a flashpoint when Israel and Gaza are fighting across the border.

Numerous Jews visited a sensitive sacred site in Jerusalem on Sunday, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, including fiery ultranationalist politician Itamar Ben Gvir.

According to authorities, the visit, which was concluded peacefully and under close police protection.

Violence has already been provoked by such provocative trips by Israeli hardliners attempting to emphasise Israeli claims of sovereignty over disputed Jerusalem.

The sacred place is crucial to the conflicting narratives of Israeli Jews and Palestinians and is located on the fault line of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli security forces claim to have apprehended 19 persons during nocturnal raids in Palestinian villages and cities in the West Bank on the suspicion that they are members of the Islamic Jihad.

A prominent Islamic Jihad commander was killed by Israel on Friday during a wave of airstrikes that Israel said were carried out to stop an impending attack.

By Sunday, Hamas continued to seem to avoid the conflict. The group has a compelling reason to stay out of another war.

The 2.3 million Palestinian citizens of the impoverished region suffered a tremendous loss as a result of the Israel-Hamas war last year, one of four major clashes and countless minor battles over the past 15 years.

Israel and Hamas have established secret agreements since the last conflict predicated on the exchange of calm for work permits and a minor relaxation of the border blockade put in place by Israel and Egypt when Hamas took control of the region 15 years ago.

Israel has granted 12,000 work licences to workers in Gaza and has indicated that it may issue another 2,000.

Due to a scarcity of fuel, Gaza’s sole power plant shut down at midday on Saturday.

Since Tuesday, Israel has kept its borders with Gaza closed. Gazans can now only use four hours of electricity per day due to the new disruption, which increases their reliance on private generators and exacerbates the territory’s ongoing power crisis during the height of the summer.