Israeli airstrike on Gaza, August 5th 2022

Israeli airstrike on Gaza, August 5th 2022
The Israel Defense Forces launched strikes on residential area in Gaza on Friday, in response to the alleged threat of assault by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). One of the group's top members was killed. Local officials also say that the IDF attack left several civilians dead and dozens injured.

Video footage shows smoke rising from a densely-packed residential area of the Palestinian enclave, after Israeli forces conducted airstrikes. In a statement, the IDF said that the attack was launched following "the direct threats posed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza."

The mission was named 'Operation Breaking Dawn' by the IDF.

Friday's strikes killed senior PIJ operative Taysir al-Jabari, the IDF claimed. Al-Jabari's predecessor, Baha Abu al-Ata, was killed in an Israeli airstrike in 2019.

Comment: It's likely that this leader will be succeeded, and this weak justification can then be used again when Israel so chooses.

Palestinian health officials also claim that at least seven people were killed in the strikes, including a five-year-old girl. At least 40 people were injured, they added.

Comment: Several dead and dozens injured, all to kill one leader? Evidently Israel has little concern for civilian life, and it's likely that this escalation was not solely intended to take out this leader, but instead to serve multiple agendas, including provoking Palestinians into retaliating, as well as to continue to make their life a living nightmare.

"We will not retreat and we will not hesitate," PIJ Secretary-General Ziyad Al-Nakhala said in response to al-Jabari's death.

Israeli officials have warned for several days that the militant group planned on attacking Israel with anti-tank missiles and sniper fire. The warning came after Israeli forces arrested PIJ leader Bassem Saadi in the West Bank city of Jenin on Monday. A Palestinian teenager was killed in the raid on Saadi's home.

The PIJ said in a statement that it was declaring a state of "alertness" and raising the "readiness" of its fighters in response. Israel meanwhile restricted gatherings within 80km (50 miles) of Gaza, and alerted residents to the possibility of Palestinian rocket fire, while blockading roads into and out of the area.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited the IDF's Southern Command on Thursday and issued a warning to Palestinian militants, saying "the threat will be removed one way or another."

Israel releases video of deadly Gaza strike

Gaza israel airstrike
© Israel Defense Forces
A screenshot from an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) video showing an airstrike on an apartment building in Gaza City, August 5, 2022
The footage, apparently shot by a surveillance drone, captured the moment an Israeli missile slammed into the apartment block, blowing a two-storey hole in the building and setting off explosions across at least three floors inside.

The IDF confirmed shortly afterwards that the strike killed al-Jabari, who took over as commanding officer of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's (PIJ) Gaza Division after his predecessor, Baha Abu al-Ata, was assassinated in an Israeli airstrike in 2019.

Between ten and 20 PIJ terrorists were also targeted in the Israeli operation, dubbed 'Breaking Dawn' by the IDF. Among those killed were members of a "terrorist squad" who were "on their way to carry out an anti-tank missile and sniper attack," the Israeli military claimed.

A separate video released by the IDF shortly afterwards showed a strike on a PIJ observation post, apparently conducted with artillery.