Israeli strikes on Gaza kill top militants and 10 civilians

At least 15 Palestinians, including three commanders of the militant group Islamic Jihad, have been killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian health officials said eight women and children were among the dead. Another 22 people were injured.

The strikes were the deadliest since three days of hostilities between Israel and Islamic Jihad last August, in which 49 Palestinians were killed in Gaza.

The Israeli strikes began in the early hours of Tuesday morning, when 40 warplanes and helicopters attacked in several waves across Gaza, hitting homes and causing panic among residents.

The Gaza health ministry said four children and four women were among those killed. Half of the injured were women and children and several were in a critical condition in hospital, it added.

Russia announced that one of its citizens, Dr Jamal Khaswan, a former chairman of the Gaza Dentists’ Association, was killed along with his wife Mervat and their 21-year-old son Youssef.

Another two of their children survived, it said. They included 10-year-old daughter Diala, who was filmed sitting in the front seat of an ambulance and crying out for her father.

Dr Wafai al-Sousi, a friend and colleague of Dr Khaswan, condemned what he called the “cowardly targeting” of the family.

Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, confirmed the deaths of three of its commanders, along with their wives and a number of their children. It identified them as:

  • Jihad Shaker al-Ghannam, secretary of the al-Quds Brigades’ Military Council
  • Khalil Salah al-Bahtini, the commander of its Northern Region
  • Tariq Mohammed Ezzedine, “one of the heads of military action” in the occupied West Bank

The IDF said Bahtini was the senior operational officer of Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and that he was responsible for recent rocket fire. It called him “an imminent threat to the security of Israeli civilians”.

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BBC News

Locations: Israel Palestine Gaza Strip, Palestine Russia 

Organizations: Israel Defense Forces Islamic Jihad Gaza Dentists' Association 

Tags: Military Mass Death 

Type: Headlines