TEL AVIV — Israel carried out a number of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Friday, and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad said one of the attacks killed a senior figure in the faction.
The airstrikes culminated almost a week of rising tensions following the arrest of another senior militant from the same group in the West Bank.
A senior Israeli defense official said that the attacks targeted Islamic Jihad and several of the targets were struck, including an apartment building in Gaza, and at least four militants carrying anti-tank missiles. At least seven people, including a 5-year-old girl, were killed and about 40 civilians were injured, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.
The Islamic Jihad said that a commander of its military wing, identified as Taysir al-Jabari, was killed. .
“The enemy has started a war targeting our people and we all need to defend ourselves and our people,” an Islamic Jihad statement said.
The Israeli defense official said that several people had been killed in the airstrikes and confirmed that one of the targets was Mr. al-Jabari.
Plumes of smoke billowed over the Gazan skyline and on the ground, throngs of rescuers and other people gathered in the street near the site where the Islamic Jihad commander had been killed.
Israel closed crossings into the Gaza Strip this week in anticipation of a retaliatory attack following the arrest on Monday of another senior member of the Islamic Jihad in the West Bank. Gaza has been under a strict blockade since 2007.