Islamic Jihad commander and dozens of civilians killed during Israeli attack on Gaza

The israeli forces hit targets in Gaza, the army said, after days of tension following the arrest of a Palestinian militant leader.

Local officials reported casualties and television footage showed smoke billowing from a building.

“The IDF is currently attacking in the Gaza Strip. A special situation has been declared on the Israeli home front,” the army said in a statement.

A spokesman for the Gaza Ministry of Health said that there were several victims and a state of emergency was declared. Television images showed black smoke billowing from the roof of a building in the densely populated strip.

According to the official, 7 people, including a 7-year-old girl, were killed as a result of the Israeli aggression, while more than 40 civilians were injured.

The Islamic Jihad indicated that a senior commander of the group had been killed in Israeli strikes.

Local health officials said one person was killed and 15 injured in the raid.

The attacks came after Israel arrested Bassam al-Saadi, a senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin earlier this week.

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Israel subsequently closed all Gaza crossings and some nearby roads for fear of retaliatory attacks by the group, which has a stronghold in Gaza.

“The enemy has started a war against our people and against us and we will defend ourselves and our people,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement.

(With information from Reuters)

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