Israel on Thursday deployed attack drones over the Gaza Strip and continued to close major roads in the south amid rising tensions with the Palestinians.
The Israeli Air Force deployed “dozens” of attack drones over Gaza as part of its preparations for locating and intercepting possible rockets or anti-tank fire launched by Palestinian militants in Gaza, local media reported.
The report said Chief-of-Staff of the Israeli army Aviv Kochavi toured the area near Gaza in the morning and approved “offensive plans” that might be used in case of an escalation of violence with Gaza militants.
Meanwhile, the closure of major roads in southern Israel continued for the third day for fear of escalation with Gaza. An Israeli military spokesperson said in a statement that the military has been denying civilians’ access to the areas near the Palestinian enclave due to “a concrete warning of an attack by the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza border.
” The Ashkelon Regional Council in southern Israel said the train service has been suspended and farmers were required not to work on the fields near the Gaza fence.
Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid and Defense Minister, Benny Gantz held a security consultation to discuss “the security situation in the south and the steps necessary for continued security in the area.
” The tensions were sparked by an Israeli raid in the flashpoint Palestinian city of Jenin in the northern West Bank overnight between Monday and Tuesday.
A 17-year-old boy Palestinian boy was killed, and members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad including the group’s political leader Bassem al-Saadi were arrested.
Israeli forces have been placed on high alert near the Gaza Strip on Tuesday for fear of escalation following the killing of a Palestinian man.
Local media reported that the Islamic Jihad leader was also arrested in the West Bank overnight.
Roads near the Palestinian enclave were blocked and the train service in the southern city of Ashkelon were suspended following fear of possible anti-tank, rocket or sniper fires from Gaza.Activities in local Israeli schools and colleges were canceled.
The Erez Crossing, the only pedestrian passage between Gaza and Israel, was also temporarily shut down.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s office announced in a statement that Lapid called a special security assessment meeting with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and other senior military and security officials.
At least one Palestinian was killed and another was injured during a raid by Israeli forces in northern West Bank city of Jenin overnight, Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed.
Meanwhile, Israel’s border police announced in a statement the arrest of two Palestinian suspects in Jenin and confiscation of a handgun, magazines, bullets and cash.
One of the two Palestinians arrested as Bassam al-Saadi, a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.