Israel military on Friday, November 15 said they have launched attacks on Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip in retaliation to the rockets fired against the middle east country after the ceasefire came into effect. New overnight strikes against Islamic Jihad were issued by the Israel Defence Forces after five rockets were fired from Gaza, two of them were intercepted by air defence systems.
"The IDF views the violation of the ceasefire and rockets directed at Israel with great severity," the army was quoted as saying by AFP. A statement released by the military said that it will "continue operating as necessary against all attempts to harm Israel civilians".
The aggressive statement came days after a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Gaza was brokered by Egyptian and UN officials in a bid to de-escalate tensions in the conflict region. While no Israelis have been killed in the strikes, medics have stated that they have treated at least 63 people for mild injuries and stress. Gaza on the other hand in a recent statement said a family of eight including five children were killed in a strike.
Israeli military defended the strike stating that attack was launched to target an Islamic Jihad rocket unit commander. "He, like many others, had the tactic of hiding ammunition and military infrastructure in their residence," military spokesman Jonathan Conricus was quoted as saying.
The Israel military's claims were disputed by relatives and Islamic Jihad spokesman who denied that he belonged to the militia. Reports suggested that he was a former Palestinian Authority (PA), military police officer. "This is a war crime," said the suspected Palestinian militant's neighbour Adan Abu Abdallah. "You are killing innocent children, sleeping at home."
The death toll of Palestinians killed in Gaza rose to 34 in aftermath of Israeli forces who launched a targeted airstrike against Islamic Jihad commander, Abu al-Ata on Tuesday. The attack led to heavy retaliation including what the Israeli military claim were 450 rockets that were fired by militants targeting Israeli cities.
Responding to concerns that the attacks might lead to armed battle in the conflict region, Netanyahu said, "Israel is not interested in escalation, but we will do everything required to defend ourselves". "This could take time," he added.
Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that administers the Gaza Strip region, said in a statement that Israel "bears full responsibility for all consequences of this escalation" and swore that Ata's death "will not go unpunished".
Experts have said by targeting Islamic Jihad instead of the Hamas, the military was aware of not triggering a wider conflict as Israel and Palestinian militants have fought three wars since Hamas took administrative control in 2007. The armed conflict in 2014 lasting for 50 days is known to be the deadliest.
No retaliatory actions by Hamas also have signified its decision to maintain the truce with Israel that led to Qatari aid worth tens of millions of dollars to flow into the country since last year in Gaza Strip which has been severely affected due to conflicts.