At least 12 Palestinians were killed and 19 injured in a series of intensive Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip since Friday afternoon, Palestinian sources in Gaza said Saturday morning.
The Palestinians reacted with mortar attacks. Four people were injured in southern Israel. One of them was in a serious condition. According to Israeli army, some 50 rockets and shells of all kinds were fired since Friday evening on Israeli territory from the Palestinian enclave.
The latest Palestinian victim, a 26 year old 26 member of the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, was killed before dawn during an air strike in Deir el-Balah, a town in the center of the Palestinian enclave, said the group in a statement. Four other people were injured in the same attack.
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), Zouheir al-Qaissi, 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.