At least nine people were killed and more than 10 others injured on Tuesday as Israeli jets and helicopters struck multiple targets of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) militant group in Gaza.The Palestinian Health Ministry said that seven bodies were brought to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, and the other two were taken to the hospital in Rafah town, reports Xinhua news agency.
In a statement, the Mnistry said that more than 10 Palestinians, including women and children, were injured in the Israeli airstrikes on several buildings in Gaza City and Rafah.PIJ sources told Xinhua that among the dead were Tareq Izel Dein, the spokesman of the group in the Palestinian territories, his wife and two children, and two other senior military leaders.
The commanders killed were identified as Jihad Shaker Al-Ghannam, secretary of the Military Council in the al Quds Brigades; Khalil Salah al Bahtini, commander of the Northern Region in the al Quds Brigades; and Tariq Muhammad Ezzedine, one of the leaders of the military wing of the al Quds Brigades in the West Bank, according to the group.
According to witnesses, the first building to be hit was a residential apartment in the "Dawood" tower located in Gaza City's Al-Rimal neighbourhood, and the other building was in Rafah.The PIJ militants were in the two buildings at the time, sources said.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the pre-dawn airstrikes on Gaza, saying it was a "response to incessant aggression on the part of the PIJ terrorist organisation", reports CNN.Calling the strikes "Operation Shield and Arrow", the IDF said its fighter jets and helicopters hit 10 Islamic Jihad targets, including what it said were "rocket production workshops in Khan Yunis", weapon manufacturing sites, military compounds, a concrete manufacturing site and a military post.
Also on Tuesday, Israel's National Security Council said in a statement that the PIJ had fired 102 rockets toward southern Israel on May 2.The Council said the latest airstrikes were targeted and Israel was trying to "avoid harming those not involved as much as possible".
"The IDF and the security forces are working and will continue to work in a targeted manner to thwart terrorist targets, based on accurate intelligence, and in an effort to avoid harming those not involved as much as possible," it said.