The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson says security forces arrested an undisclosed number of operatives affiliated with terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the West Bank overnight Friday-Saturday. No further details were provided.
According to reports in Hebrew-language media, a known senior official of the group who previously served time in Israeli prison was among those arrested. Citing Palestinian media sources, he was identified as Najah Habaiba, said to have been nabbed near Jenin.
The IDF launched arrest raids in the West Bank after terrorists from PIJ fired relentless barrages of rockets at Israeli communities in southern and central Israel Friday night and into the wee hours of Saturday, sending thousands rushing to shelters.
The Israeli military struck a number of PIJ sites in the Gaza Strip overnight, including weapons-making facilities and rocket-launching positions, the army said.
The rocket volleys Friday and Saturday came hours after the military launched Operation Breaking Dawn with airstrikes in Gaza in response to what leaders said was an ongoing “concrete” threat from Islaimc Jihad to target Israeli civilians and soldiers in Gaza-border areas.
In its initial round of strikes Friday, the military said six sites were hit by fighter jets and armed drones. One of the strikes killed one of the PIJ’s senior commanders, Tayseer Jabari, whom Israeli leaders said was planning to attack Israeli civilians near the border.
Jabari replaced Abu al-Ata as the group’s commander in northern Gaza after the latter’s assassination by Israel in 2019. The PIJ confirmed Jabari’s death.
The IDF also targeted the head of the anti-tank guided missile array and several squads preparing attacks. The army estimated that between 10-20 terror operatives had been killed in the opening wave of airstrikes.
By nightfall Friday, the Hamas-run health ministry confirmed that at least 15 people had been killed, including a five-year-old girl, and 55 others wounded.