Three Islamic Jihad commanders and multiple family members were among at least a dozen Palestinians killed as Israeli jets and helicopters struck multiple targets in Gaza overnight in what Israel described as an operation targeting “kingpin terrorists”, APA reports citing CNN.
At least 13 people were killed in the strikes, including six women and four children, the Director of Al-Shifa Medical Complex, Muhammad Abu Salmiya, said Tuesday.
Earlier, the Ministry of Health in Gaza said 20 people had been injured and warned the number of casualties could rise.
“Ambulance crews are still continuing to evacuate victims from the areas targeted by the occupation,” the Ministry of Health said, referring to Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed it launched pre-dawn airstrikes on Gaza, saying it was a “response to incessant aggression on the part of the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization.”
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht called the targets “kingpin terrorists” and insisted that the military “did as much as we could to focus on them.”
But he also conceded the IDF was “aware of some collateral,” an apparent reference to the wives and children who were also killed alongside those being targeted.
“If there were some tragic deaths, we’ll look into it and get back to you,” he said in response to reporters’ questions.
Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad confirmed three of its commanders were killed in the operation along with their wives and children.