At least one Palestinian has been killed in Israeli air attacks that pounded the Gaza for a second straight day, according to the Palestinian ministry of health in the Strip.
The renewed bombardment on Wednesday prompted a barrage of retaliatory rocket fire from the besieged enclave towards southern Israel, Al-Jazeera reported.
The Israeli air raids struck multiple locations across the besieged enclave, including in the South and the North, and a number of sites belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement (PIJ).
Local media reported that at least one other Palestinian was wounded east of Khan Yunis in the Southern Gaza Strip. The PIJ did not confirm that the victims were members of its group.
Reporting from Gaza City, Al-Jazeera’s Youmna El Sayed said locals were on “high alert”, with a lot of worry as schools and public and private facilities have closed and people try to stay indoors following a series of attacks on Tuesday that killed at least 15 people, including several civilians.
“There is a very high sense of tension and worry among the residents of Gaza since the Israeli attacks yesterday. Everything in Gaza is closed and people have remained in their homes,” she added.
Hamas, the group running the Strip, said in a statement that the rockets launched from Gaza were an answer to the “massacre committed by the Israeli occupation”.
“The unified response of the resistance is necessary and continuous against all aggression,” it added.
On the Israeli side, authorities told citizens living in towns along the Gaza fence to evacuate or remain inside shelters.
Reporting from Ashkelon in Southern Israel, Al-Jazeera’s Willem Marx said the Israeli army was on high alert as sirens were initiated. Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defence system also intercepted rockets.
“In the last few moments, there’ve been instructions [from authorities] for people to stay inside shelters because of these barrages,” he said, adding, “A lot of communities have been encouraged to move away from here.”
The bombardment comes a day after Israeli forces attacked Gaza City and its environs, killing 15 people, including four children, in what they said was an operation targeting three PIJ commanders.
In an overnight attack, Israeli forces also killed two people in the occupied West Bank town of Qabatiya, during which a 17-year-old Palestinian was shot in the chest and transferred to hospital.
The health ministry identified the slain men as Ahmad Jamal Assaf, 19, and Warani Walid Qatanat, 24, who were shot by Israeli soldiers in Qabatiya town, South of Jenin, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.