Both sides confirmed the death of the militant group's southern commander
The leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's (PIJ) Southern Gaza division, Khaled Mansour, was killed last night, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced on Sunday. This comes two days after the head of the militant group's northern division, Taysir al-Jabari, was taken out. According to the Israeli military, the death of Mansour completes the neutralization of the whole PIJ leadership.
In a Twitter post, the Israeli military said that Mansour, who was "responsible for dozens of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers," was targeted and killed by IDF aircraft.
Mansour's death was later confirmed by the Islamic Jihad, which said in a statement quoted by the media that it mourns a fighter who "was martyred as a result of an Israeli air strike yesterday."
On Saturday night, the head of the IDF Operations Directorate, Major General Oded Basiuk, told the press that "essentially, all of the senior officials of Gaza's Islamic Jihad have been eliminated."
He revealed that the commander of the PIJ's Rafah Brigade group, Khatab Amasi, and Mansour's deputy, Ziad Madalal, had been among those killed in the latest airstrikes conducted on the third day of Israel's Breaking Dawn anti-terrorist operation.
According to the IDF's latest update, since the operation was launched on Friday, PIJ militants have fired 580 rockets at Israel. The IDF says 97% of them were intercepted mid-air by the Iron Dome missile defense systems, while "120+ rockets landed in Gaza and killed innocent Palestinians."
Earlier on Sunday, the Israeli military accused Gaza PIJ militants of killing civilians, including six children, in the Jabalia refugee camp in the north of the enclave. Saying that Israel "did not conduct any activities in Jabaliya at the time of the event," the IDF said that the tragedy "was the result of a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket."
Gaza's Health Ministry claims that the death toll among Palestinians since the beginning of Operation Breaking Dawn has reached 31.
No casualties on the Israeli side have been reported.
Tensions escalated on Monday, after Israel arrested Islamic Jihad's West Bank leader, Bassem Saadi, in a raid that killed a Palestinian teenager. The PIJ threatened retaliation as many Palestinians expressed outrage over the killing.
On Friday, the IDF launched Operation Breaking Dawn, citing the "imminent threat of attack against Israeli civilians posed by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization." The first strikes killed Taysir al-Jabari, while an additional 10-20 operatives were allegedly targeted with missiles and artillery.