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Death Toll Rises as Israel Kills Second Leader of the PIJ

By: Evan Bian

Israel sends another air strike at another building in Gaza. Six children and several PIJ fighters including leaders Khaled Mansour and Tayseer Jabari are among the 31 Palestinians reported to have died.

Nearly 600 Palestinian rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel since Friday, an Israeli official said. Israel says it launched the operations due to immediate threat from PIJ. The latest violence is the most serious flare-up between Israel and Gaza since an 11-day conflict in May 2021 left more than 200 Palestinians and a dozen Israelis dead. The Israeli military is warning this latest operation code named Breaking Dawn could last for a week.

The attacks came after Israel killed senior PIJ leader Khaled Mansour in an air strike on a house in Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza. The commander had previously survived five assassination attempts by the Israeli military, who accused him of planning militant operations out of Gaza. As well as air strikes on Gaza, where Israel said its targets included a PIJ tunnel network, there have been continued arrest raids in the occupied West Bank. Dozens of members of PIJ have been detained, according to Israel officers.

PIJ, which is one of the strongest militant groups operating in Gaza, is backed by Iran and has its headquarters in the Syrian capital Damascus. It has been responsible for many attacks, including rocket-fire and shootings against Israel. In November 2019, Israel and PIJ fought a five-day conflict following the killing by Israel of a PIJ commander who Israel said had been planning an imminent attack. The violence left 34 Palestinians dead and 111 injured, while 63 Israelis needed medical treatment.

Israel said 25 of the Palestinians killed were militants, including those hit preparing to launch rockets. The conflict hasn’t ended as there is more conflict between them, both threatening each other.

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