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Israel claims killing of second Islamic Jihad military chief

Israel's army said it had targeted another military chief from the militant organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the Gaza Strip.

Israel‘s army said it had targeted another military chief from the militant organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the Gaza Strip.

Islamic Jihad’s southern commander, Khaled Mansour, was killed in an airstrike in the city of Rafah, the military announced on Sunday morning. Two other senior jihadi members were also killed, including Mansour’s deputy, it said. The PIJ confirmed Mansour’s death on Sunday.

“In recent days Mansour worked to carry out an anti-tank missile and rocket attack at Israel and was responsible for the planning of a terror attack in Israel along the border with Gaza which was thwarted by the IDF,” the statement from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said. It said he was also responsible for terror attacks in the past.

“We are acting in a precise and responsible way to minimize harm to civilians. This operation will continue as long as necessary,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Sunday.

The Israeli military had launched the large-scale operation dubbed “Breaking Dawn” against the PIJ on Friday. The military chief Taisir al-Jabari and other PIJ members were killed.

The group, which is closely linked to Israel‘s arch-enemy Iran, is classified as a terrorist organization by the EU and the US.

On Saturday night, the army attacked several targets in the Gaza Strip. Israeli border towns on the edge of the Gaza Strip were again on rocket alert on Sunday morning.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 29 people have died since Friday. At least 253 have been injured. Among the dead are six children and four women, in addition to other PIJ members.

Israel blames Islamic Jihad for the deaths of five children and one adult in the Jabalia refugee camp. According to the military, they were killed by a misguided jihadi rocket.

For the first time since the beginning of the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, there was also a rocket alarm in Jerusalem on Sunday.

According to military reports, warning sirens were sounding around the city in the morning. Residents reported explosions.

Since Friday, more than 400 rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, according to the military.

There had been fears that the situation could escalate further on Sunday, the Jewish day of fasting and mourning, Tisha B’Av. Religious Jews mourn the destruction of the two ancient temples in Jerusalem on this day.

The Islamist Hamas organization, which controls the Gaza Strip, had called in the evening for the al-Aqsa mosque on the site known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary to be “defended and for Israeli attacks on the holy site to be opposed.”

The Noble Sanctuary, or al-Haram al-Sharif, with the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, is the third holiest site in Islam. To the Jews it is known as the Temple Mount, where both the destroyed temples stood.

Until now, Hamas had kept a low profile in the recent conflict with Israel. Israeli airstrikes were mainly aimed at the second strongest Palestinian organization in the Gaza Strip, Islamic Jihad.

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