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FILE PHOTO: A Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant participates in an anti-Israel military parade marking the 36th anniversary of the movement's foundation in Gaza City, October 4, 2023.

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem/File Photo

What is Palestinian Islamic Jihad?

The Israeli and US governments on Wednesday claimed to have preliminary intelligence showing that the blast that Hamas authorities said had killed several hundred people at a Gaza hospital on Tuesday night was caused by an errant rocket fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

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Palestinian rescue workers inspect a house after an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza Strip.

The latest from Israel and Gaza

After three days of fighting between Israel and the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip, there are no signs that the crisis is abating.

After Israeli forces took out a number of high-profile PIJ commanders in recent days, the group responded by firing more than 800 rockets at southern and central Israel. Many of those rockets have either been intercepted by missile defense systems, landed inside Gaza, or fallen in vacant areas inside Israel.

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Explosions light up the sky after the Israeli military struck Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza.

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Israel prepares for Gaza escalation

Israel is bracing for fierce retaliatory strikes after taking out senior members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

Israeli authorities have told families living in southern border communities to leave their homes, while bomb shelters in central Israel have also been opened.

What’s the trigger this time? Israel conducted air strikes on the Gaza Strip early Tuesday that resulted in the death of three PIJ heavyweights: Khalil Bahtini, the group’s commander for the northern Gaza Strip; Tareq Izzeldeen, the intermediary between PIJ’s Gaza and West Bank factions; and Jehad Ghanam, who headed the military council. Two of the commanders’ wives and children were also killed in the bombing along with other civilians, bringing the death toll to 13. Around 20 others were injured.

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