Tel Aviv will be targeted by missiles within hours, says Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad Al-Nakhala
Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad Al-Nakhala said on Friday that his group would target the Israeli capital, Tel Aviv, with missiles. “in the next few hours.” Earlier, Israel killed a senior commander of the militant organization in an airstrike.
“The metropolis of Tel Aviv will be one of the targets of resistance missiles, and the next few hours will prove to the enemy that all resistance forces are one and we will fight them as one man” , Al-Nakhala said in remarks reported by the Palestinian Quds news network.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have meanwhile deployed Iron Dome missile defense batteries near the cities of Beersheba, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Flights were diverted from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport and the city’s bomb shelters were prepared, The Times of Israel reported.
The IDF launched airstrikes on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza on Friday, killing PIJ commander Taysir al-Jabari. The strikes, dubbed “Operation Breaking Dawn” by the IDF, targeted between 10 and 20 PIJ terrorists and killed members of a “terrorist squad” who were “en route to conduct an anti-tank missile and sniper attack”, the Israeli army claimed.
Palestinian officials said that apart from al-Jabari, at least seven people were killed in the strikes, including a five-year-old girl, and more than 40 were injured.
The dramatic escalation in Gaza came after Israeli officials warned for days of impending PIJ strikes. The warnings began after Israeli forces arrested the group’s West Bank leader, Bassem Saadi, in the city of Jenin on Monday. A Palestinian teenager was killed in the raid on Saadi’s house, sparking an outcry in the Palestinian territories and prompting the PIJ to place its fighters on high alert.
Although Hamas, another Palestinian militant group, was not targeted in Friday’s operation, it issued a statement shortly after news of al-Jabari’s death was announced, saying “the blood of our people and the resistance are not shed in vain.”