Israeli warplanes launched at least three separate attacks against the Gaza Strip over a 24 hour period, killing five people, including one that the military identified as Hisham Saidani, who they called an ideological leader for several militant movements.
Saidani had been the leader of a small militant faction that was a rival of the Hamas government, and had been imprisoned in the past as the group carried out anti-Hamas attacks. Exactly how big his following was, however, is unclear, as many of the Gaza Salafist groups contain no more than a handful of members.
The rest of the dead included several members of the Popular Resistance Committees, which condemned Israel for the attacks and threatened retaliation, with the group issuing a statement saying “it’s time to pay the toll.”
Tensions have been on the rise between Israel and the strip since last weekend, when Israel attacked a motorcycle on a crowded street, hitting two militants but also wounding a number of schoolchildren.