Israel strikes kill Islamic Jihad chiefs, civilians

STORY: Israel killed three Islamic Jihad commanders and 10 civilians in surprise airstrikes in Gaza on Tuesday, Palestinian officials said, drawing threats of reprisals from the faction and censure from Egypt, which has mediated past ceasefires in the enclave.

In response, Israel closed roads in Israeli towns near Gaza, instructed residents there to keep close to bomb shelters, and said it was calling up some military reservists…

While Palestinians attended the funeral procession for those killed in the airstrikes.

NEIGHBOR OF PALESTINIAN KILLED, UM MOHAMMAD: “I would like to tell the occupation not to feel happy with the killing of Abu Mohammad and that he is not here anymore. There will be more fighters to come even after his death. They will struggle and struggle because this is our country and our land, it’s for us, the Palestinians. There will be justice for people who have the right in this land, we are the rightful owners, and hopefully we will win.”

Health officials said 10 civilians, including four children and five women, were also killed in the strikes that hit crowded residential areas in Gaza.

Mohammad Khuswan mourned his brother, Jamal- a dentist known for offering free treatment to poor families, who lived on the same block as an Islamic Jihad leader.

“It’s a very hard and bad feeling. He is a very well known doctor, his son is a doctor and his wife is a pharmacist. The whole family members are peaceful and decent people. He has a Russian nationality and he is very well known, he works… I don’t know what to say, they are a decent family. It was a crime committed by Israelis while they were at home. I don’t know what to say.”

Khuswan was killed along with his wife and 21 year-old son – a medical student. The family was sleeping in their apartment in the center of Gaza city.

The Israeli military said it was looking into reports of civilian deaths but had no immediate comment.

The airstrikes were the latest incident in more than a year of surging violence that has seen repeated Israeli military raids and escalating settler violence in the occupied West Bank, amid a spate of Palestinian street attacks against Israelis.

Israel said 40 jets took part in what it called “pinpoint” strikes, while Islamic Jihad vowed to “match the size of the crime.”

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