The head of Islamic Jihad in the northern Gaza Strip, Baha Abu al Ata – REUTERS / MOHAMMED SALEM
The Islamist group responds by firing rockets at Israeli cities
CITY OF GAZA / JERUSALEM, 12 (Reuters / EP)
Israel has killed a prominent Palestinian Islamic Jihad Islamic group commander on Tuesday in an unusual selective attack in the Gaza Strip, to which militiamen have responded by firing rockets at Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv.
In the most serious escalation in months, an Israeli missile has also reached the home of an Islamic Jihad officer in Damascus, killing two people including his son, as reported by Syrian state media, although Israel has not wanted to comment on this incident. .
“Israel carried out two coordinated attacks in Syria and Gaza, in a declaration of war,” denounced the Islamic Jihad leader, Jaled al Batsh, at the funeral in Gaza of Baha Abu al Atta.
Israeli officials have described Al Atta as “a time bomb” that was responsible for a series of recent attacks with rockets, drones and snipers and is suspected of planning more.
“We carried out the attack (against Al Atta) because there was no other choice,” said Israeli Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. “I want to highlight that we are not looking for a greater escalation of the situation,” he stressed.
The death of Al Atta, in his home with his wife, could plan a new challenge for the Hamas Islamist movement, which controls Gaza since 2007 and has been seeking a truce with Israel since the 2014 war.
Israel presents the growing tensions in Gaza as part of the regional dispute with its archenemy Iran that has also been developing in Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cited such scenarios in his efforts to form a new coalition government in the country with his center-left rivals after two elections with no conclusive results this year.
According to Islamic Jihad, the objective of the attack in Damascus has been the residence of one of its political leaders, Akram al Ajuri, without its possible meaning for Israel being clear.
According to Syrian state media, the Israeli attack on Damascus has been carried out with several missiles, one of which was shot down over the nearby Daraya neighborhood. In total, six people have been injured in the attack that, according to Syrian media, has been aimed at civilian housing in Mezzá, a western district of the capital where several embassies are located.
ARROWS SHOT AGAINST ISRAELI TERRITORY
In response, Palestinian militiamen have fired dozens of rockets at Israel, blowing sirens in enclaves as far north as Tel Aviv and causing several municipalities to close schools. Similar precautions have also been ordered in Gaza.
The Israeli Army has indicated that its air defense system 'Iron Dome' has intercepted some Palestinian rockets, although Israeli hospitals have confirmed that there have been some civilians injured.
A subsequent attack by Israeli aviation against two men on a motorcycle in Gaza, killing one and injuring the other, according to Palestinian residents. Israel has noted that both were members of Islamic Jihad responsible for firing rockets.
Israel “has full responsibility for all the consequences of this escalation,” Hamas said in a statement, promising that Al Atta's death “will not go unpunished.”