A Palestinian Islamist dies in Israeli custody after a hunger strike. Militant Palestinians in the Gaza Strip respond with heavy rocket fire – Israel responds with a counterattack.
After rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip over the death of a detainee, the Israeli air force has attacked several targets in the Palestinian territory. Among them are military posts, an arms depot, weapons production facilities and a training facility of the ruling Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said on the night. Israel holds the militant Islamist Hamas responsible for all attacks originating in the Gaza Strip. According to reports from the foreclosed coastal area, explosions could be heard in several places.
Earlier, militants in the Gaza Strip fired at least 30 rockets and six mortar shells at Israel after the death of a Palestinian prisoner, according to the army. According to medics, at least three people in Israel were injured by rocket splinters, one of them seriously. According to media reports, others were treated for anxiety. During the night, warning sirens wailed again in several cities.
Hamas chief makes announcement
In the northern Gaza Strip, a man suffered serious injuries when he was hit by a large rock after an Israeli airstrike, hospital sources said. The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip had previously announced that hospitals and emergency services were on increased alert.
As the news site “ynet” reported, Egypt tried to mediate between Israel and influential forces in the Gaza Strip in the evening to end the fighting. Hamas head Ismail Haniya announced during the night: “We are making contact with our brothers in Egypt and Qatar to stop the aggression against the Gaza Strip.”
Meanwhile, the militant Palestinian organization Islamic Jihad circulated a video in the Gaza Strip purporting to show its people preparing to launch a rocket. At the end the writing “We haven’t started yet” appears.
Late in the evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a briefing on the security situation, which was also attended by Defense Minister Joav Galant. “Anyone who tries to harm the citizens of Israel will regret it,” Galant warned.
Almost three months hunger strike
The background to the recent tensions between Israelis and Palestinians is the death of Chader Adnan. Yesterday, the senior member of Islamic Jihad died in Israeli custody after nearly three months of hunger strike. The 44-year-old from the city of Jenin in the West Bank was found unconscious in his cell early in the morning, according to the prison authorities. As a result, several militant Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip announced retaliation.
According to the prison authorities, Adnan had been imprisoned for suspected membership in a terrorist organization and support for terrorism and hate speech. A spokesman said the Islamist began the hunger strike on February 5 after his arrest for alleged terrorist offenses. It was already his tenth prison term in Israel.
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