A senior military commander in the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement, was killed in an Israeli air strike that targeted a residential apartment in western Gaza City, on the Al-Saraya, in a press statement.
The Al-Quds Brigades said in a press statement that it “mourns its martyr, Commander Iyad Al-Abd Al-Hassani, a member of the Military Council and the official of the Operations Unit in the Al-Quds Brigades, who rose in a cowardly Zionist assassination this evening (Friday) in Gaza.”
The latest toll from the Gaza Ministry of Health shows that 33 Palestinians have been killed since Tuesday.
Among the dead were six Islamic Jihad leaders and fighters from the same movement and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
On Friday, AFP correspondents in the Gaza Strip witnessed Israeli bombing of the cities of Gaza and Rafah and the firing of Palestinian rockets towards Israel.
Sirens were heard in the city of Ashkelon and various places, all the way to Jerusalem and the Gush Etzion settlements, south of the city of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.
And a Palestinian security source said that dozens of rockets were fired on Friday at the city of Ashkelon.
The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement, said, “Revenge of the Free People… The Palestinian resistance launches a focused missile strike in two phases towards occupied Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the enemy’s cities and settlements, in response to the assassinations and the continued aggression against the Palestinian people.”
The Jihad movement said, “The bombing of Jerusalem is a message, and everyone should understand its purpose. Jerusalem is before our eyes, and what is happening there is not isolated from Gaza.”
The Gush Etzion settlement council confirmed that a rocket landed near the Bat Ein settlement, in the vicinity of an Arab village.
Egypt, the traditional mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, is working to reach a cease-fire, while international calls are increasing for an end to the most dangerous escalation since August 2022 between the two sides.
On Friday evening, a Palestinian source familiar with the truce talks, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that “Egypt presented this evening a new formula for the ceasefire, which the Palestinian side will study, and Egypt is also waiting for the occupation’s response.”
Israeli media sources said that the Hebrew state had received a “modified version” of an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire, without giving further details.
This came after a statement made by a source in the Islamic Jihad Movement to Agence France-Presse, in which he said, “The occupation is the one who is obstructing Egypt’s efforts to cease fire.”
On Friday evening, the source affirmed that his movement “until now is sticking to its demand related to stopping the Israeli assassinations and reaching calm that depends on Israel’s acceptance of this condition.”
A source in the Jihad movement spoke on Thursday evening of discussing a “final formula for a cease-fire” in Egypt.
Witnesses in Gaza spoke of three air raids on empty areas in Rafah in the south of the Strip, which did not lead to injuries. In the Israeli towns bordering the Gaza Strip, whose residents have been living in shelters for three days, sirens sounded several times from morning until night.
The Israeli police said on Friday that it had been informed that a house in the city of Sderot was hit directly, without reporting any injuries.
On Friday evening, the Secretary-General of the Lebanese Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, confirmed in a televised speech that communication is in place with the leaders of the factions, warning that the party “will not hesitate” to take any step if responsibility requires it.
Nasrallah said, “We are in constant contact with the leaders of the factions, we monitor the situation and its developments, and we offer possible assistance within certain limits, but at any time the responsibility imposes on us to take any step or steps, we will not hesitate, God willing.”
For its part, Hamas said in a press statement that the head of its political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, had received a phone call from Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Abdollahian, during which Haniyeh stressed that “the enemy bears responsibility for what is happening because of the crime of assassinating leaders and targeting civilians in their homes, and that the resistance is united in the field and in political support.” .
The Islamic Jihad movement also said that its Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhala assured the Iranian foreign minister in a phone call that “the resistance in the field is in excellent condition and continues to confront the Zionist aggression on the Gaza Strip until the attacks stop and the enemy accepts the Palestinian conditions.”
The streets were almost empty on Friday in the Gaza Strip, and shops closed their doors, with the exception of bakeries and some food stores that were partially opened.
And the Israeli police announced that a person was killed Thursday in Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv, by a missile that hit a residential building, while the emergency services reported five injuries in Israel from shrapnel resulting from explosions since the launch of the first Palestinian missile on Wednesday.
In Rehovot, Ran Lev, 82, said he was “on the fourth floor of the building that was hit by a missile.” “I heard the sirens and realized I had 90 seconds to get to the shelter,” he added.
In Gaza, Mazen, 40, a resident of Jabalia camp, who was waiting for his turn to buy bread, said, “The situation is terrifying. We hope to reach a calm, we are very tired of escalation and wars.”
Sabah Abu Khater, 55, whose house was destroyed in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, told AFP, “Where do we go now? We are ten people. We have no bed, no shelter, and no furniture.”
The Israeli military stated that at least 866 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. The army confirms that 25 percent of them fell in the same sector, killing four people, including three minors. Agence France-Presse was unable to obtain comment from Hamas and Islamic Jihad on this information.
He said that since the start of his “preventive” operation, he had targeted 254 targets of the Islamic Jihad organization.
On Thursday, the European Union called for “an immediate cease-fire that puts an end to Israeli military operations in Gaza and the firing of rockets into Israel, which is unacceptable,” while Washington urged all parties to “ensure that the killing of civilians is avoided and (…) a reduction in violence.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres confirmed that he was following the violence with “grave concern”.
The population of the Gaza Strip, numbering about 2.3 million people, suffers from poverty and unemployment and is subject to an Israeli blockade, as the Strip has witnessed repeated wars with Israel since 2008.