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Israel kills sixth militant Islamic Jihad leader in a week

May 12, 2023

Another round of Israeli air strikes have killed a leader of Islamic Jihad, after the militant group had fired rockets into Israel. Egypt has continued to push for a cease-fire.

Smoke rises from an explosion caused by an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza
Israel said it carried out strikes targeting senior members of the militant group Islamic JihadImage: Hatem Moussa/AP Photo/picture alliance

The Israeli military killed a senior leader of the militant Islamic Jihad group in Gaza on Friday, the sixth senior figure to be killed in the small, blockaded enclave in less than a week.

Iyad al-Hasani, a high-ranking commander of the second-largest militant group in Gaza after Hamas, was killed in an Israeli strike on an apartment in Gaza City, a spokesperson for the group told AFP news agency. 

A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces later confirmed in a tweet that al-Hasani had been killed.   

Islamic Jihad is deemed a terrorist group not only by Israel, but also the US, EU and several other countries.

Israeli said it was "striking Islamic Jihad targets" in Gaza after a wave of rockets were fired towards cities in Israel, including Jerusalem.

Islamic Jihad said the rockets were a "response to the assassinations and the continued aggression against the Palestinian people."

Israel, Gaza militants continue to trade heavy fire

Hundreds of rockets fired

Israel launched an air strike campaign against leaders of Islamic Jihad early on Tuesday, killing three senior members in its first wave of strikes.

Two others were killed in further strikes during the week.

Israel said the militant group had been planning attacks. Since the first strikes, Islamic Jihad has fired close to 1,000 rockets into Israel.

Gaza's health ministry said that at least 33 Palestinians, including both militants and civilians, have been killed this week. One Israeli was also killed by a rocket from Gaza in the city of Rehovot, close to Tel Aviv, on Thursday night.

Egypt pushes for truce

Friday's rockets and air strikes came amid international calls for de-escalation and an attempt to negotiate a cease-fire led by neighboring Egypt.

The 12-hour lull prior to the rocket fire from Islamic Jihad had given some hope that a truce could be brokered.

Palestinian officials said that Egypt was continuing with its efforts despite the renewed outbreak of violence.

Islamic Jihad wants a cessation of Israeli strikes against its leaders, but Israel has rejected this as a term for the truce.

Israel kills Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza strike

ab/wd (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)