Tel Aviv: Hours after Israeli airstrikes killed several people including a leader of militant organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the Gaza Strip, several rockets were fired back at Israel from Gaza, according to media reports.
Air raid sirens were sounded in several Israeli cities, but the rockets went down in open terrain or were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system, dpa news agency reported, citing the Israeli military.
The PIJ’s military arm said on Friday evening that the rockets were fired in retaliation for the killing of PIJ commander Taisir al-Jabari. “We’re attacking Tel Aviv and the cities of the centre and the surrounding area with more than 100 missiles,” it said.
Earlier, the Israeli military attacked several targets in the Gaza Strip following threats by the PIJ.
According to Palestinian sources, at least 10 people were killed in the Israeli attacks, among them a 5-year-old child and other PIJ members. At least 75 people were reportedly injured.
Both the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the Israeli army confirmed al-Jabari’s death.
According to Israel’s armed forces, PIJ military bases and buildings in the Gaza strip were also targeted during the airstrikes.
On Monday, PIJ leader Bassem Saadi was arrested in the West Bank town of Jenin during an Israeli anti-terror operation. The military arm of the organization, the al-Quds Brigades, subsequently threatened retaliation.
The PIJ is particularly active in the Gaza Strip, from where it regularly launches rocket attacks on Israel. The organization has close ties to Iran.
The Israeli military cordoned off areas on the edge of the Gaza Strip for several days and raised its alert level.
Israel continued its attacks on Friday evening. Prime Minister Yair Lapid said: “The Israeli government will not allow terrorist organisations to set the agenda in the towns on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip and to threaten Israeli citizens. Those who want to attack Israel must know that we will get to them.”