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Islamic Jihad Leader in Gaza Strip Assassinated (AUDIO INTERVIEW)

Former top Israeli security official: Baha Abu Al-Ata ‘initiated operations against Israel’ without coordinating them even with higher-ups in Damascus

Israel killed the commander of Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, Baha Abu Al-Ata, with a pre-dawn airstrike on his home in Gaza City on Tuesday. Abu Al-Ata’s wife was also killed, and two others were wounded, the group said.

Islamic Jihad, which gets much of its backing from Iran, responded by launching rockets into Israel, reaching as far as Tel Aviv, some 40 miles north of the enclave’s northern-most border. Some were intercepted by Israeli air-defense missiles while others fell in open areas.

At least one Israeli home was hit by a rocket and some injuries were reported. Schools and businesses were ordered shut, at least temporarily, from Tel Aviv southward.

In the Gaza Strip, two people on a motorcycle were later targeted by Israel, which described them as members of an Islamic Jihad rocket crew. One was killed and the other was wounded.

For some insight into why Israel targeted Abu Al-Ata and whether his killing signifies a change in Israeli policy, The Media Line spoke with Yaakov Amidror, a former head of the country’s National Security Council and, before that, chief of research for Israeli military intelligence.

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