Israel and Gaza militants exchange fire and move closer to war

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The bombardments rained down on both Israel and the Gaza Strip Friday as tensions in the region reach a fever pitch.

The exchange began after Israel killed a Palestinian jihadist in a targeted counterterrorism strike.

According Israel Defense Force Six sites were reportedly hit by warplanes and armed drones on Friday afternoon, killing Tayseer Jabari, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander-in-chief of the terror group’s northern Gaza division.

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In Gaza, the Hamas-run health ministry reported that at least five other people had been killed in the strikes, including a five-year-old girl.

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, Friday, August 18.  5, 2022.

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, Friday, August 18. 5, 2022.
(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Rockets fired by Palestinian militants towards Israel, in Gaza City, Friday, August 1.  5, 2022.

Rockets fired by Palestinian militants towards Israel, in Gaza City, Friday, August 1. 5, 2022.
(AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

The response of the forces in Gaza is brutal and rapid. However, the main terrorist group Hamas seems to be on the sidelines of the shooting.

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The sky over southern and central Israel lit up with rockets and interceptors from Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. It was not immediately clear how many rockets had been launched, and there were no immediate reports of casualties on the Israeli side.

Residents inspect the rubble of a destroyed residential building that was hit by Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza, Saturday, August 1, 2019. 6, 2022.

Residents inspect the rubble of a destroyed residential building that was hit by Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza, Saturday, August 1, 2019. 6, 2022.
(AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City on Saturday August 1.  6, 2022.

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City on Saturday August 1. 6, 2022.
(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

A building in Gaza City is hit on August 28.  5, 2022.

A building in Gaza City is hit on August 28. 5, 2022.
(AP)

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A joint statement from Israel Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the purpose of the operation was to eliminate “the threat against the citizens of Israel and civilians living near the Gaza Strip, as well as the targeting of terrorists and their sponsors”.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.