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As the number of people killed by airstrikes in Gaza continues to grow, Israel has assassinated a second senior militant from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization.

Israel-Gaza: Death toll increases in Gaza as Israel bombs the city

The 28 Palestinians who perished include six children, a number of PIJ fighters, including its commanders Khaled Mansour and Tayseer Jabari. An Israeli official reported that since Friday, about 400 Palestinian rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel.

Israel claims that the “immediate threat” from PIJ is why the operations were started. Since an 11-day confrontation in May 2021 that resulted in more than 200 Palestinian deaths and a dozen Israeli fatalities, the most recent bloodshed between Israel and Gaza is the most violent outburst.

This most recent operation, code-named Breaking Dawn, might persist for a week, the Israeli military has warned. Israel assassinated top PIJ commander Khaled Mansour on Saturday in an airstrike on a home in Rafah, southern Gaza, during the second day of conflict.

The Israeli military had already attempted to kill the leader five times after learning that he was allegedly preparing violent attacks from Gaza. His passing comes after a fatal Israeli airstrike on Friday that killed Tayseer Jabari, another important PIJ commander.

According to Israel, 19 members of PIJ have been detained in operations across the occupied West Bank in addition to airstrikes on Gaza. Despite further reports of airstrikes in Gaza, sirens warning of impending rockets continued to wail in Israeli towns on Saturday.

Gaza’s health ministry attributed the deaths of Palestinians and the 203 persons who were injured to “Israeli aggression.” Israel said on Saturday that PIJ militants fired a stray rocket that killed numerous children in Jabalia, in the Gaza Strip, and claimed that at least part of the deaths were due to accident. The BBC was unable to independently confirm this assertion.

The largest militant organization in the region, Hamas, which frequently coordinates its operations with Islamic Jihad and has a similar ideology, does not appear to be launching rockets from its sizable rocket stockpile at this time.

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