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Operation Shield and Arrow

Israel launches military operation in Gaza, airstrikes kill three senior members of Islamic Jihad

Operation dubbed ‘Shield and Arrow’; Palestinian Health Ministry reports 12 casualties

Explosions light up the sky after the Israeli military said in a statement that it has struck Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza, May 9, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

The Israeli military carried out overnight airstrikes in the Gaza Strip targeting three senior members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist organization.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson announced the launch of Operation Shield and Arrow, one week after more than 100 rockets were fired into Israel's territory from Gaza.

Israel said the strikes were a “response to incessant aggression on the part of the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization.”

The PIJ operatives targeted are Khalil Bahitini, the commander of the al-Quds Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip; Tarek Azzaldin, a spokesperson for the movement, who was also responsible for terrorist activities in the West Bank and Gaza; and Jahed Ahnam, the secretary of the military council of the PIJ.

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported at least 12 casualties in the strikes, among them family members of the assassinated terrorists. Additional IDF air raids were reported in Rafah, Khan Yunis and the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza city. 

The PIJ issued a statement confirming the killing of senior members in the organization, saying: "We affirm that the blood of the martyrs will increase our resolve, and we will not leave our positions, and the resistance will continue."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to convene the security Cabinet on Tuesday. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant declared a “special situation for the Home Front Command,” which placed communities within 40 km (about 25 miles) of Gaza under restrictions. Gallant also approved mobilizing IDF reserve forces.  

Following the strikes, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir tweeted, "The time has come!" 

Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

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