Israel Targets Gaza With Airstrikes
Israelis claim al-Qaisi was targeted because he was planning an attack, and that the airstrikes were a response to more than 90 rocket attacks from Gaza into Israeli communities that injured at least four people, CNN reports.
However, Palestinians are condemning Israel’s actions.
According to BBC’s Middle East correspondent,
“There is nothing new in Israel's use of its air power to target a Palestinian commander in Gaza.
“Zohair al-Qaisi only took over as head of the Popular Resistance Committees when his predecessor in the role died in the same manner last August. And he had already survived an unexplained explosion at his family home in Gaza earlier this year in which at least one person died.
“[…] Israel blames Zohair al-Qaisi for a much larger and more significant assault last summer, a wave of gun and bomb attacks in a single day near the country's southern border with Egypt which left eight Israelis dead.”
Many of the recent airstrikes took place on Friday, but they continued into early Saturday. A spokesman for the Izzedine al Qassam Brigade of Hamas, Abu Obaida, vowed that Israel “will pay the price” for its actions. Also, as Reuters reports:
“‘All options are open before the fighters to respond to this despicable crime. The assassination of our chief will not end our resistance,’ Abu Attiya, a spokesman for the PRC group told Reuters.”
Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaina stated, as reported by CNN:
“Israel's escalation creates a negative atmosphere and increases the tension, which leads to the increase in violence in the region.”