Air raid sirens heard near Jerusalem for first time since launch of Gaza anti-terror op

Hundreds of rockets fired at Israel as militant leaders assassinated


A picture taken on August 5, 2022, shows Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza City in retaliation to earlier Israeli airstrikes, and Israeli Iron Dome system missiles intercepting them. - A senior militant from Islamic Jihad was killed in an Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip today, prompting the militant group to warn Israel has "started a war". A child was among those killed in the strikes, the enclave's health ministry said, while Israel's military estimated 15 were dead. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP) (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images)

Air-raid sirens were heard around Jerusalem this morning as militants in Gaza fired rockets at civilian targets in Israel for a third day in a row in response to an IDF anti-terror operation.

The alert was the first in the capital since operation ‘Breaking Dawn’ was launched on Friday, targeting the leadership of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Already approximately 600 rockets have been fired from Gaza, of which around 450 reached Israeli air-space.

The Iron Dome missile defence system has brought down 97 per cent of these, according to the IDF, marking a new record high for accuracy.

According to the Health Ministry in Gaza, 31 Palestinians have been killed since the launch of the operation, including six children and four women, and a further 253 people have been injured.

A number of the Palestinian deaths are due to some of about 120 militant rockets which have misfired and falled back into Gaza, according to the IDF.

There have been no reports of Israeli casualties. This morning one rocket was reported to have landed in the back yard of a home in Sderot, while another hit the residence of a couple in Eshkol who were inside at the time but escaped uninjured.

The IDF operation began on Friday with the assassination of PIJ senior leader Tayseer Jabari, head of the group’s northern command.

Israeli fighter jets continued to strike targets in Gaza yesterday, killing another PIJ leader, Khaled Mansour, head of the southern command, along with two other senior officials.

Mansour was responsible for rocket attacks against Israel, according to the IDF.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid said: ”This was an operational and intelligence effort, and is an extraordinary achievement.”

Speaking last night, the head of the IDF’s Operations Directorate, Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk, said: “The entire top brass of the Islamic Jihad military wing in Gaza.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned PIJ leaders “who sit abroad in restaurants and stay in hotels in Tehran, Syria, and Lebanon” would also “pay the bill.”

PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah is currently in Tehran where he has met with Iran’s President Ibrahim Raisi as well as Hossein Salami, the head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Egypt’s Presiden Al-Sissi said Cairo is “in round-the-clock communications to prevent the situation from getting out of control in the Gaza Strip”.

Israel is currently pushing for an Egypt brokered ceasefire, according to Israeli media reports, but PIJ is said to be holding off while trying to extract a heavier price.

Mr Lapid vowed on Sunday that the operation in Gaza “will continue as long as necessary”.

However, in a briefing to international journalists, the IDF’s spokesperson did say that “quiet will be met with quiet,” suggesting that if PIJ stops firing rockets, Israel may wind down the operation in Gaza.

Israel is trying to avoid dragging Hamas into the conflict, strictly targeting PIJ senior members and their rocket launchers, weapons manufacturing sites, and tunnels.

Although Hamas said it won’t “stand idly by Israel’s aggressions,” the group which rules Gaza has refrained from attacking Israel since Operation Breaking Dawn began.

Benjamin Netanyahu met with Lapid on Sunday to receive a security briefing. The opposition leader said: “We’re in the midst of fighting. I of course give full backing to the government, to the IDF and the security forces.

"I also commend the residents of the south for their resilience and urge them to continue to heed the instructions from the Homefront Command. This truly saves lives.”

Gaza is currently experiencing a near electricity blackout, after the Strip’s sole power plant shut down, due to a lack of fuel entering the border crossing. It is estimated that Palestinians there have roughly four hours of electricity per day.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has backed Israel’s actions, saying on Friday: “The UK stands by Israel and its right to defend itself. We condemn terrorist groups firing at civilians and violence which has resulted in casualties on both sides. We call for a swift end to the violence."

The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the escalation between Israel and Islamic Jihad.

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