The alert came after Palestinian militants vowed revenge for their slain commander
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz gave the green light on Friday to call up some 25,000 military reservists, if needed. Israel is on high alert, with Palestinian militants vowing revenge for the killing of one of their top commanders in an Israeli airstrike.
Gantz’s office announced the potential call less than an hour after Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Zihad Al-Nakhala threatened to rain missiles on the city of Tel Aviv during the “hours to come”.
Al-Nakhala made his threat after Israeli warplanes fired a missile at an apartment building in Gaza City, killing PIJ commander Taysir al-Jabari. The strikes, dubbed “Operation Breaking Dawn” by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), targeted 10 to 20 other PIJ terrorists and killed members of a “terrorist squad” who were “en route to conduct an anti-tank missile and sniper attack”, the Israeli army claimed.
Palestinian officials said the strikes killed nine people, including a five-year-old girl, and injured 55 others.
Along with al-Nakhala’s threat, a “joint operations room” representing several other Palestinian militant groups issued a statement warning that Israeli strikes “will not go unpunished”.
Preparations for Palestinian retaliation are underway in Israel, with the Israeli military opening its emergency command post and deploying Iron Dome missile defense batteries near the cities of Beersheba, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Bomb shelters were also prepared in Tel Aviv, while police and firefighters were dispatched to areas near Israel’s borders with Gaza in anticipation of rocket fire.
Shortly after Gantz’s announcement, Israeli forces renewed their assault on Gaza, Palestinian sources said. Another PIJ operative was reportedly killed, IDF spokesman Ron Kochav told Israel’s Channel 12. “we are in the midst of a targeted campaign against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad”, and that Israel hopes not to drag Hamas into the rapidly escalating conflict.
Meanwhile, the IDF released a video pictures of his troops training and apparently preparing for battle.
The latest escalation began when Israeli forces arrested PIJ leader in the West Bank, Bassem Saadi, in the city of Jenin on Monday. A Palestinian teenager was killed in the raid on Saadi’s house, sparking an outcry in the Palestinian territories. As the PIJ placed its fighters on high alert, Israeli officials repeatedly warned this week of impending revenge attacks.