by Ben Sales
(JTA) — A Palestinian rocket killed an Israeli in his apartment building and the Palestinian death toll hit 30 as the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza stretched into its fourth day.
The number of Palestinian dead from the recent days of fighting, reported early on Friday local time by the Palestinian Health Ministry, includes both civilians and combatants in Islamic Jihad, which the United States and European Union have designated as a terror group. Since the conflict began on Tuesday, Israel has killed the group’s senior commanders with airstrikes while Islamic Jihad has fired more than 600 rockets into Israel.
Many of those rockets have been intercepted by Israel’s missile defense system. More than 100 additional rockets shot by Islamic Jihad have fallen short and landed in Gaza.
The Israeli man who was killed died when a rocket from Gaza evaded Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and directly hit his apartment building in the central Israeli city of Rehovot. Five people were injured in the attack.
Efforts toward a ceasefire on Wednesday failed but appeared to again be in full swing by Thursday night, according to Israeli reports.
The United Nations and E.U. have called for a ceasefire. The U.S. State Department is calling for both sides “to take steps that will not incite tensions and further incite violence” and to “ensure that civilian life is not harmed.”
Amid the fighting, approximately 40,000 Israelis gathered in a park in Tel Aviv for a performance by Israeli musician Aviv Geffen. The concert took place with the military’s permission and passed without incident, though organizers and attendees drew some criticism for holding it at a time when swaths of the country were hunkering in shelters. Geffen said from the stage that the concert was a sign that “we have chosen life.”
This is the deadliest clash between Israel and militants in Gaza since last August. Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, fought for 11 days in 2021 and have clashed several times over the past two decades. The deadliest conflict between the two sides occurred during the 2014 Gaza War, which lasted for 50 days.
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