(Photo credit: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)
Israel launched new airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip in the early hours of 23 February, just hours after Palestinian resistance fighters fired rockets toward the nearby Israeli cities of Sderot and Ashkelon.
Israeli warplanes bombarded the besieged Gaza Strip this morning in response to the resistance's rocket fire last night pic.twitter.com/5Yxh7s8eET
— The Cradle (@TheCradleMedia) February 23, 2023
There were no reports of casualties on either side.
According to the Israeli army, fighter jets dropped bombs on a Hamas “weapons manufacturing site and military compound,” allegedly located “near a mosque, a medical clinic, a school, a hotel, and a police station.”
Columns of smoke rose from the targeted sites as the shelling damaged several houses. Local reports say one of the missiles hit a location at the entrance of the densely populated Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) resistance group took responsibility for firing six rockets at the Israeli cities, saying this was done in retaliation for Wednesday’s massacre of 11 Palestinians in the West Bank.
Israeli troops killed 11 Palestinians, including a child and three elderly people, and injured over 100 during a raid in the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank on 22 February.
A brutal Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus has left at least 10 Palestinians dead and over 100 injured. pic.twitter.com/2tJf1NwxIe
— The Cradle (@TheCradleMedia) February 22, 2023
Wednesday’s massacre occurred less than a month after Israeli troops slaughtered 10 Palestinians and injured at least 20 in the West Bank city of Jenin.
A day later, the Israeli air force also bombed the Gaza Strip.
In response to Israel’s most recent massacre of Palestinians, political parties in the occupied territories announced a general strike in the cities of Ramallah and Nablus, calling on Palestinians to come out in protest near Israeli army checkpoints.
The Palestinian foreign ministry also criticized the lukewarm international reaction to the Nablus massacre, calling it a double standard.
“The international reactions were shy and weak, almost equating between the victim and the executioner,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that Israel’s actions were “at the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
The statement added that the failure to hold Israel accountable was fueling “tensions that threaten to explode.”
On Wednesday, a spokesman for Hamas’s military wing said the resistance group was “observing the enemy’s escalating crimes against our people in the occupied West Bank, and its patience is running out.”
Similarly, PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhala called the Israeli raid a “huge crime,” adding, “It is our duty as resistance forces to respond to this crime without hesitation.”
Since the start of the year, 60 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis, at a rate of more than one fatality per day. This follows an increase in violence recorded in 2022, with at least 167 Palestinians killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
This marked the highest death toll in the occupied territories in a year since the Second Intifada. In retaliation, Palestinians killed 30 Israelis last year and 10 this year.