Gaza casualties rise as Israel kills second Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader

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Sirens sounded and explosions were heard on the western outskirts of Jerusalem on Sunday, signalling longer-range Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel as its military continued air strikes in the Gaza Strip.

Video filmed by the Associated Press shows at least three rockets blasting in the air. According to Israeli media,two rockets were intercepted.

About 30 Palestinians, at least a third of them civilians and two senior commanders of the Islamic Jihad militant group, have been killed in the weekend surge of fighting.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands Israelis were sent seeking out shelters as rockets were fired from Gaza in retaliation.

There was no immediate word of casualties on the Jerusalem outskirts, which Islamic Jihad said it had targeted in a rocket attack

Fighters from the Palestinian militant group confirmed that one of the Israeli attacks killed a senior commander, their second leader to be slain amid an escalating cross-border conflict.

Khaled Mansour, who led the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad’s operations in the southern Gaza Strip, was killed late on Saturday. It came a day after another Israeli strike killed the militants’ commander in the north.

On Sunday, Gaza’s Health Ministry said 29 people had been killed in the fighting so far in the coastal strip, including six children and four women. It said at least 253 people had been wounded.

Israel has estimated that its airstrikes have killed about 15 militants.

The flare-up has worried world powers and prompted truce mediation by Egypt. It has been contained in part by the fact that Hamas, the governing Islamist group in the impoverished and blockaded Gaza Strip, has held fire.

But another potential flashpoint loomed on Sunday as Jews commemorating two ancient temples visited a major Jerusalem mosque compound that they revere as vestige of those shrines.

Palestinians deem such visits a religious and political affront.

Israel launched the Gaza strikes on Friday in what it described as the preemption of an Islamic Jihad attack