Israeli strikes on Gaza kill 8, including senior militant

Israel unleashed a wave of airstrikes in Gaza on Friday

killing at least eight people, including a senior militant, and wounding another 40, according to Palestinian officials.

Israel said it was targeting the Islamic Jihad militant group in response to an “imminent threat” following the arrest of a senior militant in the occupied West Bank earlier this week.

The strikes risk igniting yet another war in the territory, which is ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas and is home to about 2 million Palestinians.

The assassination of a senior militant appeared likely to draw rocket fire from Gaza, pushing the sides closer to all-out war.

A blast could be heard in Gaza City, where smoke poured out of the seventh floor of a tall building on Friday afternoon.

The violence poses an early test for Lapid

who assumed the role of caretaker prime minister ahead of elections in November in which he hopes to keep the position

He has experience in diplomacy, having served as foreign minister in the outgoing government, but his security credentials are thin.

The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the toll, saying a 5-year-old girl was among those killed. It did not say whether the others were militants or civilians.

Islamic Jihad said Taiseer al-Jabari, its commander for northern Gaza, was among those killed.

He had succeeded another militant killed in an airstrike in 2019.