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Gaza death toll rises as Israel kills second top militant

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Smoke rises above the southern Gaza Strip during an Israeli air strike

Israel has killed a second top militant from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, as the death toll continues to rise from air strikes in Gaza.

Six children and several PIJ fighters – including leaders Khaled Mansour and Tayseer Jabari – are among the 31 Palestinians reported to have died.

Nearly 600 Palestinian rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel since Friday, an Israeli official said. Israel says it launched the operations due to “immediate threat” from PIJ.

The latest violence is the most serious flare-up between Israel and Gaza since an 11-day conflict in May 2021 left more than 200 Palestinians and a dozen Israelis dead.

The Israeli military is warning this latest operation – codenamed Breaking Dawn – could last for a week. On Sunday, Palestinian rockets fired from the Gaza Strip reached Jerusalem for the first time since the 2021 conflict.

The attacks came after Israel killed senior PIJ leader Khaled Mansour in an air strike on a house in Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza.

The commander had previously survived five assassination attempts by the Israeli military, who accused him of planning militant operations out of Gaza.

Credit: bbc.com

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