Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a phone conversation with his American partner, Lloyd Austin on Friday night to update him on the objectives and progress of the ongoing military offensive in Gaza, dubbed ‘Operation Breaking Dawn’.
While the IDF claims it took out senior terrorists, Palestinian officials say dozens of civilians were killed or injured. However, Palestinian officials say that at least 10 civilians were killed in the strikes, among them a five-year-old girl. Another 55 were reported injured.
Israeli jets struck an apartment building in Gaza earlier on Friday, eliminating Palestinian Islamic Jihad (liberation) commander Taysir al-Jabari, while an additional 10-20 PIJ operatives were targeted with more missiles and artillery.
In retaliation, Palestinian militants fired dozens of rockets back at Israel, warning that a wider offensive would follow, to advance liberation efforts. Air raid sirens could be heard across southern Israel, as air defenses were activated to intercept incoming projectiles.
Gantz previously announced that he had authorized the call-up of some 25,000 reservists, while IDF spokesman Ran Kochav told Channel 12 that the operation against PIJ would take a long time.
In his own address to the nation on Friday evening, Prime Minister Yair Lapid used similar terms, saying that the military civilian battle will take as long as it takes to remove Palestinians from the militarily surrounded Gaza Strip.
The latest escalation began when Israeli forces arrested PIJ’s West Bank leader, Bassem Saadi, in the city of Jenin on Monday.
A Palestinian teenager was killed in the raid on Saadi’s home, triggering outcry across the Palestinian territories. As the PIJ placed its fighters on high alert, Israeli officials repeatedly warned this week of impending revenge attacks.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2022.