Rocket barrages from Gaza hit most of southern and central Israel on Friday evening as Islamic Jihad launched their retaliatory attacks over the killing of the terror group's army chief by the IDF earlier.
The Israeli military, meanwhile approved a mass mobilization of reservists to assist in military operation efforts against Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, codenamed Breaking Dawn.
Israel in the afternoon hours assassinated a military leader of the Islamic Jihad in Gaza after days of tensions following the arrest of another senior militant belonging to the terror group in the West Bank.
The military launched a strike on a building in Gaza City, killing 10 Islamic Jihad operatives, according to the IDF. 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.
Chief among the deceased was Islamic Jihad commander for northern Gaza, Taiseer al-Jabari, who had succeeded another militant killed in an airstrike in 2019, Baha Abu al-Ata.
The response came just minutes before 9pm, shortly after Al-Jabari's funeral. Rocket alert sirens rang out in most of south and center, including in Tel Aviv and Rishon Lezion, with the Iron Dome defense system intercepting most of the projectiles.
There were reports of a rocket hitting a house in the southern city of Ashkelon, but injuries were reported.
The Islamic Jihad group took responsibility for the barrage, saying it had fired more than 100 projectiles. "In an initial response to the assassination of the leader Tayseer al-Jaabari, the Jerusalem Brigades bombarded Tel Aviv and the cities in the center and around Gaza with more than 100 rockets," said a statement from the group's armed wing.
In a nationally televised speech Friday night, Prime Minister Yair Lapid said his country had launched the attacks based on "concrete threats."
"This government has a zero tolerance policy for any attempted attacks - of any kind - from Gaza towards Israeli territory," Lapid said. "Israel will not sit idly by when there are those who are trying to harm its civilians."
He also added that "Israel isn't interested in a broader conflict in Gaza, but will not shy away from one either."
Defense Minister Benny Gantz, meanwhile, approved the mobilization of up to 25,000 reservists "according to operational needs", his office said Friday evening.
In the evening hours, the IDF renewed the strikes in Gaza, targeting Islamic Jihad infrastructure, including observation posts.
A senior IDF officer told Ynet on Friday that Israel's initial strike on Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip came just hours before the terrorist group was set to carry out a deadly attack against Israeli civilians.
"The Islamic Jihad planned a murderous attack against civilians, and we broke the entire chain of perpetrators and planners. It won't end over the next few hours," he said. "We always make a great effort to avoid collateral damage in Gaza, and so it will be this time as well well. [Islamic] Jihad planned an attack and it backfired on them."
The Home Front Command said it was restricting crowds in areas located at least 80km (49 miles) from Gaza out of fear of retaliatory rocket fire from terror groups in the enclave.
The military also announced a "special situation" on the home front, with schools closed and limits placed on other activities in communities within 80km (50 miles) of the border. It also deployed Iron Dome batteries in Jerusalem and Be'er Sheva, in addition to the bolstering of aerial defense system in the Gaza Strip border region.
Islamic Jihad and Hamas vowed to retaliate for the killing of the military chief, issuing a joint statement.
"Our response will come however the leadership of the resistance decides," a statement read.
"We place full responsibility for this aggression on the Zionist enemy. We will not allow it to act against our people, and it will not succeed in breaking our firm stand."