Israeli Air Forces have killed at least 13 Palestinians and wounded a dozen other, including children, in a series of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip since Friday afternoon, Palestinian medics in Gaza said Saturday morning.
Israeli cities near the Gaza border were put on high alert on Friday evening, and the residents have been asked to stay close to bomb shelters.
The Palestinians reacted with Grad rockets and missiles. Eight people were injured in southern Israel. One of them was in a serious condition. According to Israeli army, some 70 rockets and shells of all kinds were fired since Friday evening on Israeli territory from the Palestinian enclave.
The latest airstrike late on Friday struck down three Palestinians after an Apache fired rockets that hit a house and a car.
In addition, at least four other Palestinians were killed and over 20 injured by Israeli tanks, which pounded areas in the west and north of Gaza city.
This escalation of violence - the bloodiest since the end October 2011 – came following the killing of the Secretary General of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), Zuhir al-Qaisi, and another member of the movement, Mahmoud Hanani in Friday afternoon. A second raid on the eastern Gaza City, killed three fighters of Al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad. Seven other members of al-Quds Brigades, including two local commanders, were killed in subsequent airstrikes.
Meanwhile, the Popular Resistance Committees said following the killing of its leader that the group is no longer committed to a ceasefire with Israel.
The “Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades”, Hamas military wing, threatened Friday to "retaliate over Israel's crimes against the rights of the Palestinian people and the commanders of the resistance in Gaza."
More as it becomes available.