Israeli airstrike kills Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza home

Israeli airstrike kills Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza home
Israeli airstrike kills Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza home  

Israeli airstrikes Tuesday killed a prominent senior commander of Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian militant group in the Gaza Strip, potentially threatening a major escalation of Israel's of cross-border violence with Iran-backed Palestinians.

Bahaa Abu el-Atta and his wife died overnight following an airstrike on a house in Shajaiyah, in Gaza City, Israel's prime minister's office said. Israel's Defense Forces, said Abu el-Atta was the militant group's top commander in Gaza and had orchestrated several recent attacks against Israel. Islamic Jihad vowed revenge.

Separately, in Syria, officials there Tuesday said that an Israeli airstrike in the capital Damascus targeted another Islamic Jihad commander named Akram al-Ajouri.

Al-Ajouri was not harmed, but the confrontation risks another round of hostilities with Iranian-backed militants who operate in Syria. Syria's state-run news agency said Israeli warplanes fired three missiles at al-Ajouri's home, killing his son and granddaughter.

The Israeli military had no comment.

Islamic Jihad gets its funding, weapons and guidance from Iran. It often carries out attacks independently of Hamas, the larger militant group that controls Gaza.

Iranian officials rarely if ever comment on the activities of its proxies in the region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is leading a caretaker government after two inconclusive elections, has been criticized by residents on Israel's southern border with Gaza and political rivals for a tepid response to recent militant attacks.

Rashida Tlaib's grandmother to Trump: Let's talk about your peace plan

After an emergency cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that el-Atta "was in the midst of plotting additional attacks these very days. ... He was a ticking bomb."

Benny Gantz, Netanyahu's chief challenger in the election and a former military chief, said that the airstrike in Gaza City was "the right decision."

Israel may end having a third election.

El-Atta's two children were wounded in the airstrike.

Islamic Jihad said el-Atta, 42, was undergoing "a heroic act" when he was killed.

In all, four Palestinians have been killed in Tuesday's fighting.

Israel's military said that minutes after the Iran-backed Palestinian group confirmed the death, barrages of rockets were fired toward Israel. More than 50 rockets were fired in just a few hours, with 20 intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system.

There were no Israeli casualties.

Israel later started a second wave of airstrikes against Islamic Jihad targets.

The sudden surge in violence may awaken Israel's increasingly open conflict with Iran and its proxies in the region and comes as Netanyahu seeks to hold onto power - especially if he is indicted on corruption charges in the coming weeks.

Israel election: Donald Trump proves he's the 'King of Israel'

Israel shut down crossing points into Gaza and reduced the permissible fishing area off the territory's coast to 6 nautical miles. Schools were closed, and people were instructed to stay home in communities stretching from the Gaza border all the way to Tel Aviv, about 55 miles away. Public shelters were opened and restrictions placed on gatherings.

The attacks come at a tense moment for Islamic Jihad's Iranian patrons, who are struggling under crippling U.S. sanctions after President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal with Iran and world powers and reimposed economic penalties on Iran.

Unraveling nuclear accord: Iran starts injecting uranium gas into centrifuges

In Damascus, a military official said Israeli warplanes fired three missiles toward the Syrian capital, with one being destroyed by Syria's air defenses before reaching its target. The two others struck the home of al-Ajouri, the official said.

A second man identified as Abdullah Yousef Hassan was killed and nine civilians wounded, the unidentified official said according to Syrian state-media.

Israel frequently strikes Iranian interests inside Syria and has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in the course of Syria's civil war, now in its ninth year. Tuesday's attack was a rare assassination attempt of a Palestinian militant in the Syrian capital.

Since Hamas took over Gaza by force in 2007 from the internationally backed Palestinian Authority, Israel and Gaza militants have fought three wars.

The last war, in 2014, lasted for 50 days.

Contributing: Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Israeli strike kills Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu el-Atta in Gaza


More Related News

Iran says misaligned radar led to Ukrainian jet downing
Iran says misaligned radar led to Ukrainian jet downing
  • World
  • 2020-07-12 10:08:00Z

Iran said that the misalignment of an air defence unit's radar system was the key "human error" that led to the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane in January. "A failure occurred due to a human error in following the procedure" for aligning the radar, causing a "107-degree error" in the system, the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation (CAO) said in a report late Saturday. This error "initiated a hazard chain" that saw further errors committed in the minutes before the plane was shot down, said the CAO document, presented as a "factual report" and not as the final report on the accident investigation.

Iran says cannot shut down economy despite worsening virus outbreak
Iran says cannot shut down economy despite worsening virus outbreak
  • World
  • 2020-07-11 10:39:59Z

Iran said on Saturday that it cannot afford to shut down its sanctions-hit economy, even as the country's novel coronavirus outbreak worsens with record-high death tolls and rising infections. Iran must continue "economic, social and cultural activities while observing health protocols", President Hassan Rouhani said during a televised virus taskforce meeting. Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari reported Saturday that 188 people had died from the respiratory disease in the past 24 hours, raising the overall toll to 12,635.

Israel records highest single-day virus tally
Israel records highest single-day virus tally

Israel has recorded its highest number of coronavirus infections over a 24-hour period, with nearly 1,500 new cases confirmed in the most recent daily count, the health ministry said Friday. Israel had won early praise for its virus containment efforts, but cases have surged since a broad re-opening began in May. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted in a late Thursday news conference that the decision to allow businesses, including bars and event spaces, to re-open may have been made "too soon".

Hundreds gather for funeral of Palestinian shot by Israeli troops
Hundreds gather for funeral of Palestinian shot by Israeli troops

Hundreds of people gathered in the occupied West Bank on Friday for the funeral of a Palestinian man shot by Israeli soldiers a day earlier. Israel's army said troops opened fire after the Palestinian and another man started throwing fire bombs at a guard post near the town of Nablus. Palestinian officials dismissed the report and said the man had been walking with friends when he was shot dead.

Top U.S. Commander Sees Iran in
Top U.S. Commander Sees Iran in 'Disarray' After Soleimani Death

(Bloomberg) -- The top American commander in the Middle East says he sees Iran's decision-making abilities in "disarray" after a U.S. drone strike killed a senior Iranian commander in January, but he doesn't expect the lull to last.After a surge in tensions earlier this year following the killing of

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America