The U.N. Security Council was set to hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the situation in Gaza as widely expected Palestinian rocket fire failed to materialize.
Terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip did not respond to Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday that killed three senior commanders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Later on Tuesday, the Israeli Defense Forces killed two Islamic Jihad terrorists taking anti-tank missiles to a launch site near Khan Younis in the southern Strip.
Islamic Jihad has vowed to avenge the deaths and a tense quiet prevailed in the morning.
The Security Council meeting was called by China, France and the United Arab Emirates.
In a letter to U.N. officials, Israeli Ambassador to the Gilad Erdan wrote that “Israel acted in a precise and limited manner against senior military officials in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad who were directly responsible for facilitating attacks and launching rockets and missiles against Israelis, in order to protect Israel’s citizens and thwart the planned attacks.”
After stressing that Israel targeted facilities for producing and storing weapons and other military sites, the letter added that Islamic Jihad “uses the citizens of the Gaza Strip as human shields—they hide their rockets among the civilian population, use private houses as situation rooms and fire from dense urban areas.”
The strikes on the Islamic Jihad leaders come against the backdrop of a rocket barrage fired by the terrorist group following the death of Khader Adnan on May 2. The imprisoned Adnan, a senior Islamic Jihad figure, died after an 86-day hunger strike. The terrorist group had threatened throughout Adnan’s hunger strike that it would hold Israel responsible for its member’s death.
Israelis living within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of Gaza have been instructed to remain near bomb shelters. Residents were also ordered not to hold outdoor gatherings.
Amid concerns about sniper and anti-tank fire from Gaza, the military closed access to roads in the immediate vicinity of the border.