Israel-Gaza violence: Latest wave of attacks, explained

AVIV Tel, Israel –

Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip exchanged views on Saturday in the worst wave of cross-border violence since the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas last year.

Israeli air strikes have left at least 11 people dead, including a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Iran-backed militant group, who was killed in an attack intentionally.

The militants have fired dozens of rockets into Israeli cities and towns, disrupting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

Here’s a look at the latest round of violence:


Islamic Jihad is the smaller of the two main Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip, and far outnumbers the ruling Hamas group. But it has direct financial and military support from Iran, and has become the impetus to engage in missile attacks and other confrontations with Israel.

Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in 2007 from the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, is often limited in its ability to act because it is responsible for running the day-to-day affairs of the impoverished territory. this. Islamic Jihad has no such mission and has emerged as a more militant faction, even at times undermining the power of Hamas.

The group was formed in 1981 with the aim of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and all that is present-day Israel. It is designated a terrorist organization by the US State Department, the European Union and other governments. Like Hamas, jihad is sworn to destroy Israel.


Israel’s arch-enemy Iran provides the Islamic Jihad with training, expertise and money, but most of its weapons are domestically produced. In recent years, it has developed an arsenal on par with Hamas, with longer-range missiles capable of hitting the heart of the Israeli capital Tel Aviv. Air raid sirens sounded in the suburbs just south of Tel Aviv on Friday, although no missiles appeared to have hit the area.

Although its base is Gaza, the Islamic Jihad group also has leadership in Beirut and Damascus, where it maintains close ties with Iranian officials.

Ziad al-Nakhalah, the group’s top leader, was in Tehran to meet with Iranian officials when Israel began its operation in Gaza on Friday.


This is not the first time Israel has killed Islamic Jihad leaders in Gaza. The commander it killed Friday, Taiseer al-Jabari, replaces Bahaa Abu el-Atta, who was killed by Israel in a 2019 attack. His death was the first known assassination attempt by a Israel’s Islamic Jihad since the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip.

Al-Jabari, 50, is a member of the “military council” of Islamic Jihad, the group’s decision-making body in Gaza. He is in charge of jihadist operations in Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip during the 2021 war. Israel says Britain is preparing to launch an anti-tank missile attack on Israel .

His death comes after Israel’s arrest of a high-ranking jihadist commander in the West Bank earlier this week. Bassam al-Saadi, 62, is a senior official with Islamic Jihad in the north West Bank. According to Israeli media, al-Saadi is working to expand the reach of the group in the West Bank and expand its capabilities.

Al-Saadi spent a total of 15 years in multiple sittings in Israeli prisons for being an active member of Islamic Jihad. Israel killed his two sons, who were also jihadists in separate incidents in 2002, and destroyed his home in a fierce battle in the West Bank city of Jenin and five.

“Once you hit the commanders, it immediately affects the entire organization,” said Zvika Haimovich, former head of the Israeli army’s air defenses.

“It immediately created a huge mess in Jihad.”


Since coming to power in 2007, Hamas has fought four wars with Israel, often with the support of Islamic Jihad fighters. Aside from the outbreak earlier this year, the border has been largely quiet since last year’s 11-day war, and Hamas appears to be on the sidelines of the current conflict, which could keep it from spilling over. all-out war.

Islamic Jihad fighters have challenged Hamas by firing rockets, often without claiming responsibility, to raise their profile among Palestinians while Hamas maintains a ceasefire. Israel blames Hamas for all rocket fire from Gaza.

Hamas must go a tightrope between containing the flames of jihad in Israel while avoiding Palestinian anger if it attacks the group. Like previous outbursts, Hamas will have the final say – and the level of violence – how long this fighting will last.


The current fight comes as Israel is mired in a protracted political crisis that is sending voters to the polls for the fifth time in less than four years this fall.

Caretaker leader Yair Lapid came to power earlier this summer after the ideologically diverse government he helped form collapsed, triggering new elections.

Lapid, a former TV presenter and central author, lacks the security background many Israelis consider essential to their leadership roles. His political fortunes may depend on the current war, or will increase if he can present himself as a capable leader or take a hit from a protracted campaign when the Israel tries to enjoy the last weeks of summer.

Lapid hopes to compete with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a security expert on trial on corruption charges, in the upcoming vote.


Akram reports from Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Associated Press writer Emily Rose of Jerusalem contributed.

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