The Israeli military killed three senior commanders of the Islamic Jihad in targeted airstrikes launched on their homes in the Gaza Strip.
The targets of the strike early in the morning of May 9 were the three men who the Israeli military claims were behind recent rockets fired into Israel, according to AP News.
The three alleged militants — Khalil Bahtini, the commander for the northern Gaza Strip, Jehad Ghanam, the secretary of the military council, and Tareq Izzeldeen, an intermediary between Gaza and West Bank Islamic Jihad members — were killed along with at least 12 supposed civilians. This includes the men’s wives, several of their children, and civilians living nearby.
The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that approximately 20 people were also wounded in the attack that struck an apartment building and a house in Gaza City, as well as a house in the city of Rafah in the south.
The Islamic Jihad confirmed the deaths of the three commanders, and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh issued a warning to Israel that the “treacherous operation will not bring security to the occupier, but rather more resistance,” according to AP News.
Both the Islamic Jihad and the ruling group Hamas are backed by Iran as part of its larger axis of resistance strategy aiming to challenge the authority of Israel and the U.S. in the Middle East region by supporting Islamic militant groups.
As The Dallas Express reported, Iran supports the group that allegedly launched a drone strike in Syria in March, killing a U.S. contractor.
The recent escalation of fighting between Israel and Gaza has officially ended the cease-fire that had been mediated by Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations in May 2021.
Just a few weeks ago, Israeli police raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City to arrest teens throwing rocks, leading to an exchange of military fire between Israel and Hamas operating in Lebanon.
Since the start of the year, there have been approximately 125 people killed in the fighting between Israel and Palestine. Of the estimated 105 Palestinians killed, roughly half were identified as alleged Islamic militants.
After the recent targeted attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed citizens in a televised speech, telling them that retaliation from Gaza was likely and asking them “to show patience and resolve,” according to Israel Hayom.
Those residing within 25 miles of Gaza were ordered to limit public gatherings and stay within designated bomb shelters.
Netanyahu also ordered the military to stay vigilant: “I say to our enemies, every escalation by you will be answered with an overwhelming response,” according to Israel Hayom.