In a rare targeted strike against Gaza, Israel killed on Tuesday a top commander from the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine. In a response to the rockets fired earlier at Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, according to both Palestinian and Israeli media.
It was reported that Baha Abu Al-Ata and his wife were killed in the blast after the Israeli airstrike hit their home in Gaza’s Shejaia district before dawn. The strike also killed two civilians and wounded at least three others.
In a less than an hour after killing Abu Al-Ata, Israel also launched missile attacks against the home of Akram Al-Ajouri, a senior member of the Islamic Jihad in Damascus, killing two people including Ajouri’s son and wounding 10 others, said Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
The missile attack targeted a two-story civilian building adjacent to the Lebanese embassy, in the Mezzeh area of Damascus.
In the most serious escalation in months, the Islamic Jihad has launched several rockets into Israel, as a response to Israeli attacks. The Israeli army confirmed that the Islamic Jihad group had launched rockets targeting Israel, adding that 20 out of 50 rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome. However, there were no reports of casualties.
Shortly after the strikes, Hamas said Israel “bears full responsibility for all consequences of this escalation” and pledged that Abu Al-Ata’s death “will not go unpunished.” However, after the Israeli strikes, Gaza closed all educational institutions and banks.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said “We are preparing for several days of fighting,” the army has also called upon employees to stay at home, ordering schools and universities to remain closed.
Palestinian local media reported that the Israeli army bombed the internal security headquarters of Hamas in the Beit Lahia city in the northern Gaza Strip, as well as an apartment in a residential building west of Gaza.
Moreover, Israeli media reported that an Egyptian security delegation would arrive in Tel Aviv in the coming hours, trying to “de-escalate the situation.”