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Israeli airstrikes on Gaza: 5-year-old, Islamic Jihad leader among 15 dead

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza: 5-year-old, Islamic Jihad leader among 15 dead

Jerusalem and Gaza: At least fifteen people were killed after the Israeli military on Friday launched deadly strikes against what it said were Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza as tensions continue to rise between Israel and Palestinian militant groups.

Gaza's health ministry reported that "a five-year-old girl, targeted by the Israeli occupation" was among those killed.

Israel said it was targeting the Islamic Jihad militant group in response to an "imminent threat" following the arrest of another senior militant in the occupied West Bank earlier this week.

Islamic Jihad said in a statement one of its senior leaders, Tayseer Al Jabari, had been killed in an Israeli strike. He was a commander in the Quds Brigade, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, the group said, and a member of its Military Council.

Islamic Jihad said Israel had "started a war against our people".

"We collectively must defend ourselves and our people. We will not allow the enemy's policy of undermining the resistance and our national perseverance," the group said.

Flames poured out of a building in Gaza City following an air strike, while wounded Palestinians were evacuated by medics.

The strikes come four days after Israel closed its two border crossings with Gaza and restricted the movement of Israeli civilians living near the frontier, citing security concerns.

The measures follow the arrest in the occupied West Bank of two senior members of Islamic Jihad, which has a strong presence in Gaza.

Hamas, the militant group which rules Gaza, said Israel has "committed a new crime for which it must pay the price".

"The resistance in all its military arms and factions is united in this struggle and will speak loudly, as we cannot accept the situation as it is... all fronts must open fire on the enemy," Hamas said in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid was due to hold talks with Defence Minister Benny Gantz on Friday evening.

"The Israeli government will not allow terrorist organisations to set the agenda in the Gaza Strip and threaten the citizens of the State of Israel. The security forces will act against the Islamic Jihad terrorists to remove the threat," Lapid said.

On Friday afternoon, the Israeli military banned large gatherings in communities within 80 kilometres (50 miles) of the Gaza frontier, until Saturday evening.

The measures follow four days of road closures and other restrictions on movement in the border area.

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TAGS:Israel Attack Gaza attack 
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