Israeli assassination attack in Gaza widely condemned

United Nations, Egypt, Jordan, Palestinian Authority all condemn Israeli 'aggression' in Gaza that killed 3 senior Islamic Jihad officials and at least 10 civilians
Einav Halabi, Itamar Eichner, Daniel Salami|
Condemnations have come in from around the world against the Israeli attack overnight between Monday and Tuesday in the Gaza Strip, in which three senior members of Islamic Jihad were killed as well as at least 10 Palestinian civilians.
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The Egyptian Foreign Ministry linked the operation to arrests made Tuesday morning in the West Bank. "We condemn the Israeli escalation in the occupied lands in Gaza and the invasion of Nablus. The Israeli attacks are escalating the situation can cause the situation to get out of control and harm efforts to achieve calm," the ministry said in a statement.
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תיעוד מתקיפת חוליית הנ"ט בדרום הרצועה
תיעוד מתקיפת חוליית הנ"ט בדרום הרצועה
Documentation of the anti-tank squad attack in the southern Gaza Strip
(Photo: IDF Spokesman)
A similar condemnation of the operation came from Jordan, whose foreign ministry said it is involved in talks and efforts to restore calm.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Amman said in a statemen that it condemns the "Israeli escalation in the occupied Palestinian lands, the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip and the operation in Nablus. The international community must act immediately to stop this aggression and provide protection to the Palestinian people. Also, the continuation of aggression and violations toward the holy sites in Jerusalem - Muslim and Christian - and the entry of the security forces into Palestinian cities, all of these threaten to expand the cycle of violence that everyone will suffer from. Jordan continues its talks and efforts for an immediate halt to this dangerous escalation and the restoration of peace."
Tor Wennesland, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said in a statement that he is concerned about the developments and added: "I condemn the deaths of civilians in Israel's airstrikes. This is unacceptable. I call on all concerned to exercise maximum restraint and avoid escalation. I remain involved with all parties trying to prevent a wider conflict with devastating consequences for everyone."
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that "France expresses deep concern about the ongoing escalation in Gaza. It is Israel's duty to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law. France condemns any attack against civilians, especially those that occurred in the last few hours in which several Palestinian civilians lost their lives."
"France calls on all parties to exercise restraint to prevent further escalation. Both Israelis and Palestinians must be able to live in peace, dignity and security. To this end, France calls on all parties to continue working to restore a political horizon with the aim of reaching a just and sustainable peace. The commitments made in Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh must be kept and implemented," the statement continued.
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ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו בישיבת קבינט בקריה
ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו בישיבת קבינט בקריה
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a meeting in the Kirya Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv
(Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
Early in the morning, the IDF spokesman announced the launch of Operation Shield and Arrow with the targeted killing of three senior members of Islamic Jihad: Khalil Bahitini, who was responsible for launching the rockets into the Gaza Envelope last week; Jehad Ghanam, a long-time operative in the organization; and Tarek Az Aldin, who was responsible for the group's terrorism activity in the West Bank.
On the heels of the announcement, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced a "special situation on the home front" and approved the mobilization of the reserves "for required positions, according to the needs."
As a result, highways were closed around the Gaza Strip border, railway traffic south of the city of Ashkelon was halted, and special instructions were issued by the Home Front Command to the public.
The strikes in Gaza continued even after the opening blow which eliminated the senior officials. According to the IDF, warplanes and helicopters attacked weapons production facilities, including workshops for the production of rockets in Khan Yunis, as well as a site that was used for the production of concrete components used to build terrorist tunnels.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that a total of 13 people were killed in the Tuesday morning attack, including four children and four women. About 20 were injured, including three children and seven women, some critically. Among the dead was a Russian citizen, Dr. Jamal Haswan, and his wife.
"Two children who recently received citizenship of the Russian Federation are orphans. This is unfortunate," said Russia's ambassador to Israel, Anatoly Viktorov.
He said that Moscow is calling for an end to "all unilateral acts of violence and disproportionate use of force by anyone, which causes casualties among innocent Palestinians and Israelis."
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said that the PA "considers the Israeli government fully responsible for this dangerous escalation that is dragging the region into violence, tension and instability."
"We warn the US administration not to allow the Israeli occupation authorities to persist in their ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people, especially when they affect children, women and holy places," he also said.
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