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Israel strikes Gaza, prompting rocket fire and ending relative calm – The Denver Post

TEL AVIV, Israel — Israeli airstrikes hit multiple targets in the Gaza Strip on Friday, prompting Palestinian militants to retaliate with dozens of rockets, in the deadliest escalation of violence in the territory since an 11-day war Last year.

Israeli airstrikes hit residential apartments as well as watchtowers and militant outposts, killing a militant leader and at least nine others, including a 5-year-old girl, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

United Nations officials tried to broker a truce, but militants continued to retaliate with rockets late Friday, raising the likelihood of a more protracted conflict that diplomats and analysts feared would last into next week.

Israel said its strikes were a preemptive effort to prevent an imminent attack on Israeli civilians from Islamic Jihad, the second-largest militant group in Gaza. An initial airstrike killed Taiseer al-Jabari, a senior military official in the group, according to Islamic Jihad and the Israeli army. Israel launched new strikes later Friday, after the Palestinians returned fire.

The range and number of rockets fired from Gaza deep into Israeli territory posed a greater threat than any barrage launched from the enclave since the May 2021 war. Gaza militants fire rockets into Israel several times a year, but usually over short distances and in rural areas.

“The enemy has started a war targeting our people, and we must all defend ourselves and our people,” an Islamic Jihad statement said.

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