Minutes after the Iranian-backed group confirmed the death of Bahaa Abu el-Atta, barrages of rockets were fired toward southern Israel from Gaza. Air-raid sirens sounded in Tel Aviv.
Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad said one of its leaders was killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday.
The group’s armed wing confirmed the death in a statement after Israel said it had targeted Bahaa Abu el-Atta, 42, in a strike.
Islamic Jihad said the commander was conducting “a heroic act” at the time of his assassination and vowed revenge as a result.
It added that el-Atta’s wife was also killed. Islamic Jihad is an Iranian-backed group that often carries out attacks independent of Hamas, the larger militant outfit that controls Gaza.
Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu el-Atta at an anti-Israel military show
Gaza’s Health Ministry said a man and a woman perished in an airstrike in Shejaiya, in Gaza City’s southeastern outskirts, and two other people were injured.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said on Twitter: “We just targeted Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, Baha Abu el-Atta.”
“(He) was directly responsible for hundreds of terror attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers,” and “his next attack was imminent.”
Israel Defense Forces ✔@IDF
BREAKING: We just targeted Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, Baha Abu Al Ata.
Al Ata was directly responsible for hundreds of terror attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.
His next attack was imminent.#JihadEnough
The airstrike came days after the appointment of hard-line politician Naftali Bennett as Israel’s defense minister. Bennett has long advocated tougher action against Palestinian militants.
But Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesperson, said the operation had been planned long ago.
Shortly after the strike, Palestinian militants launched a salvo of rockets into Israel.
Air raid sirens continued to go off throughout the morning as far away as Holon and Rishon LeZion, two suburbs of Tel Aviv.
Israel shut down crossing points into Gaza and reduced the permissible fishing area off the territory’s coast to 6 nautical miles in anticipation of a looming confrontation. Schools were also closed in communities and towns along the Gaza Strip’s boundary and all the way to Tel Aviv, about 90 kilometers north of Gaza.
The IDF said Islamic Jihad was “firing rockets indiscriminately at civilians across Israel.”
Israel Defense Forces ✔@IDF
In a separate incident, Israel is reported to have struck a residential building in Syria’s capital Damascus housing a commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad with two missiles, killing two people.
Syria’s state-run news agency SANA said six people were killed in the early morning attack on Tuesday. A third missile landed in Daraya, a suburb of the capital, SANA said. It was not immediately clear if the Islamic Jihad commander, identified as Akram al-Ajouri, was among those killed in the attack.
- A HISTORY OF THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESSUN Security Council Resolution 242, 1967United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, passed on November 22, 1967, called for the exchange of land for peace. Since then, many of the attempts to establish peace in the region have referred to 242. The resolution was written in accordance with Chapter VI of the UN Charter, under which resolutions are recommendations, not orders.
- source: dw.com