Israel awaits 'response' from Islamic Jihad after attacking Gaza
Israelis are currently in a state of apprehension following a series of airstrikes by Israel on Gaza on Tuesday and Wednesday that left 16 dead, the majority of whom were civilians, including women and children. Three Islamic Jihad commanders were also among the dead.
The fact that the Islamic Jihad had not responded to the attacks has baffled many Israelis. In the meantime, thousands of Israelis have left their homes near the Gaza border for fear of reprisals.
One Israeli army reservist believes that the Islamic Jihad command was surprised by the ferocity of the Israeli attack and hence needs time to "prepare a response," Colonel (Res) Itamar Yaar said at a brief for journalists.
"We succeeded in taking out senior commanders," hinting that the blow had hindered an immediate response.
Itamar Yaar raised the possibility that the Islamic Jihad must first muster enough support from Hamas and may also have to coordinate with regional organisations like Hizballah.
From a strategic perspective, the upper echelons of the Israeli government assessed that everyone in the Middle East carefully heard the message behind the strikes.
"They understand that we have good information about what they do and where they are," Yaar articulated.
Following Tuesday's air strikes, Egypt - a longtime mediator in Gaza - said such actions "inflame the situation in a way that could get out of control".
Also in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli army shot an "armed" Israeli woman dead when she approached a checkpoint wearing a head cover.
The incident happened Tuesday evening near the Jewish settlement of Beit Yatir in the southern occupied West Bank.
The latest violence brings to 126 the number of Palestinians killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so far this year.
Nineteen Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian have been killed over the same period, according to an AFP count based on official sources from the two sides.
These figures include combatants as well as civilians, and, on the Israeli side, three members of the country's Arab minority.