Israel bombs Gaza as new military offensive begins


This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Israel bombed Gaza early on Tuesday, killing three senior members of a terror group and marking the launch of a new military offensive in the coastal territory. Thirteen people in total were killed in the strike.

The bombing comes a week after a brief but heavy exchange of bombs between Israel and Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian terror group, after a senior member of the group died following a hunger strike in Israeli prison. Islamic Jihad fired more than 100 rockets at Israel before the sides agreed to a cease-fire.

That clash led to strains in Israel’s right-wing governing coalition, as the far-right Otzma Yehudit party announced that it would boycott government votes in protest of what it saw as a tepid response to attacks from Gaza. That boycott ended, the party said, with the launch of Tuesday’s offensive.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted pictures of the three Islamic Jihad officials who were killed, along with the name of Israel’s military operation, Shield and Arrow.

An Islamic Jihad official said Israel would “pay for its cowardly crime.”

Israel and militants in Gaza fought for three days last summer, and the last major conflict between Israel and militant groups in Gaza occurred in 2021, when Israel and Hamas exchanged fire for 11 days.  Israel and Hamas fought for nearly two months in 2014, in what has become known as the Gaza War, following previous offensives in 2012 and 2009.

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