13 Palestinians in Gaza were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Wednesday November 13th, raising the Palestinian death toll to 23 over a two-day escalation in violence after Israel launched strikes to kill a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander, Reuters reported.
From Gaza militants launched rockets into Israel and Israeli airstrikes pounded PIJ’s targets including a rocket warhead manufacturing facility, a PIJ headquarters and a weapons storage site.
There were reports of injuries but no deaths on the Israeli side, where the military said it shot many of the rockets down with air defences.
Family members in the north of Gaza City said Rafat Ayyad and his two sons, Islam, 25, and Ameer, 9, were killed by Israeli fire while hurrying to hospital to visit another son who had been injured earlier.
"I got wounded and I called my father. He was coming to see me in hospital and two of my brothers were with him on the motorcycle when they were hit by Israel," Loay Ayyad, 18, told Reuters during the funeral.
The Israeli military struck at least five rocket squads on Wednesday morning, the army said, targeting PIJ headquarters and a weapons storage site.
Two PIJ militants were killed in separate strikes, the movement said.
The fighting between the two sides began on Tuesday November 12th after Israel killed Baha Abu Al-Atta, a senior commander of the PIJ movement, accusing him of planning attacks against Israel.
After Atta’s killing, PIJ fired about 200 rockets into Israel on Tuesday, resuming on Wednesday morning.
The 'Joint Command' of Palestinian armed factions said in a statement, "We will not allow the enemy to return to the policy of cowardly assassination under any circumstances."
UN Middle East peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov expressed concern over the ongoing and serious escalation between PIJ and Israel: "The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars against population centres is absolutely unacceptable and must stop immediately," he said.