Israel has killed a sixth Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander in an airstrike in Gaza as fighting escalates between the two sides.
It said Iyad al-Hasani had directed the group’s operations since his predecessor was killed on Tuesday.
Earlier, a barrage of rockets from Gaza landed near Jerusalem, followed by airstrikes on militant bases in the Palestinian territories.
Hopes of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire are waning.
PIJ confirmed Hassani’s death in an airstrike on an apartment building in Gaza City’s northern al-Nasr district. A second Palestinian was killed in the attack, according to local reports.
The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza has risen to 33 since Israel launched a surprise attack on three key Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) militants on Tuesday – Gaza’s health ministry said. About 111 people have been injured, according to the Ministry of Health.
Israel’s Magan David Adom (MDA) Ambulance Service says one Israeli was killed and five wounded in rocket attacks during the same period.
Fighting resumed on Friday after several hours of lull, raising hopes for a ceasefire. Israel carried out airstrikes on militant bases early Friday, but no rocket attacks were carried out overnight. The Israeli towns of Sterod and Nir Am were hit by a volley a few hours later, when rockets hit two houses, though no injuries were reported.
Israeli media said the rocket from Gaza landed near the Jewish settlement of Bat Ain in the occupied West Bank, about 16 km (10 miles) south of Jerusalem. No injuries were reported.
PIJ said, “Firing of rockets on Jerusalem is a message, the purpose of which should be understood by all.” Israel considers Jerusalem its capital and its target represents a significant increase by militants. It will be the first time rockets have landed there since a 10-day standoff between the two sides in May 2021.
This week’s fighting is the most intense since three days of hostilities between Israel and the PIJ that killed 49 Palestinians in Gaza last August.
The PIJ is the largest militant group after Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and vows Israel’s destruction.
Israel said it was planning the attacks when three PIJ commanders were killed in an airstrike on Tuesday morning. Two more commanders were killed in Thursday’s attack – the head of the PIJ’s rocket force and his deputy.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says more than 850 rockets have been fired from Gaza in the past four days, most of which it says intercepted or landed in open areas. It says less than a fifth of that fell and landed in Gaza. According to the IDF, four people, including three children, have been killed by failed rockets in Gaza, although this has not been confirmed by Palestinian sources.
It says it has hit 215 terrorist targets in Gaza with airstrikes.