Israeli forces kill top Islamic Jihad commander in air raid
Airstrike by Israeli forces kills top Jihadi commander Bahaa Abu al-Atta in Gaza. Palestinian groups say political leader also targeted in Damascus attack.
Ramallah [Palestine]: Palestinian group Islamic Jihad announced on Tuesday (Nov 12) that one of its commanders was killed in an airstrike by Israeli forces at his home in the besieged Gaza Strip on Monday night.
Baha Abu al-Ata, 42, was killed with his wife in the airstrike that ripped through the building in Gaza City's Shejaiya district. At least two others were wounded, according to medics. The statement by Islamic Jihad's armed wing came after Israel confirmed it had targeted Bahaa Abu al-Atta, in an airstrike.
Israel Defence Forces (IDF) tweeted that it has targeted Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu Al Ata, accusing him of being directly responsible for hundreds of terror attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.
A statement by Islamic Jihad's armed wing read that that strike killed Al Ata and his wife and injured two others. Without elaborating, the group said that al Ata was undergoing "a heroic act" when he was assassinated, reported Al Jazeera.
Separately, the Palestinian group said that Israel also attacked the home of one of its officials in the Syrian capital, Damascus. Hamas, the Palestinian group that administers the Gaza Strip, said that Israel "bears full responsibility for all consequences of this escalation" and promised that al-Atta's death "will not go unpunished".
The Israeli military has said that the operation against Al-Atta was authorised by country's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, blaming him for recent rocket, drone and sniper attacks against Israel, and attempted infiltrations into the country. "Abu Al-Atta was responsible for most of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's activity in the Gaza Strip and was a ticking bomb.”
Shortly after the attack, a barrage of rockets was launched into Israel as airstrike sirens sounded across southern and central parts of the country, including the commercial capital Tel Aviv, one of the Israeli military and witnesses said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. Israeli police said they closed some roads on the edge of Gaza as a precaution, while crossing points between Israel and Gaza. Schools and some ministries in Gaza were also shuttered.