Israel Kills Islamic Jihad Commander; Resistance Vows Response
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Israel killed a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement in an airstrike in the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Jihad’s military wing confirmed.
In a statement, Al-Quds Brigades confirmed the death of its commander, Baha Abu al-Ata, 42, in an Israeli aerial assault on his Gaza home early on Tuesday, adding that the group was on “maximum alert.”
It further said Ata’s wife had also been killed during the Israeli air raid.
Additionally, the resistance group stressed that its commander was heroically defending the Palestinian land against conspiracies prior to his martyrdom, according to Press TV.
It also vowed to continue in the footsteps of its assassinated commander in order to “complete the process of liberation of the entire beloved Palestine. Our response will inevitably shock the Zionist entity.”
Meanwhile, the Israeli army has confirmed its strike against a building where Ata was present in Gaza’s Shejaiya area.
The operation, it added, had been recommended by the Chief of Staff and Shin Bet domestic security service, and approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It also blamed Ata for recent rocket, drone and sniper attacks against Israel, as well as attempted infiltration into the occupied territories, claiming that he had been planning “imminent” attacks.
“Abu al-Ata was responsible for most of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s activity in the Gaza Strip and was a ticking bomb,” the Israeli army said.
Separately, the Hamas resistance movement said Israel “bears full responsibility for all consequences of this escalation” and pledged that al-Ata’s death “will not go unpunished.”
Shortly after the Israeli strike, Palestinians launched a salvo of rockets into the occupied territories, setting off sirens in Tel Aviv, Sderot and Ashdod.
"Non-essential" workers in Tel Aviv and central cities have been told to stay home. Schools and universities are closed. A ban on public gatherings is also in place.
The Israeli army said Gaza-based Palestinian resistance fighters had pounded the occupied-territories with “substantial” rocket fire Tuesday.
“There is substantial fire,” army spokesman Jonathan Conricus told journalists in a conference call. “We are preparing for a number of days of fighting.”
The assassination is likely to fuel tensions between Tel Aviv and Gaza, which has been under a crippling siege by Israel since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008.
Gaza has also witnessed deadly tensions since March 30, 2018 which marked the start of the Great March of Return protests, with participants demanding the right to return for the Palestinians driven out of their homeland.