Smoke billows from a building in Gaza City on November 12, 2019, after an Israeli airstrike killed the commander of Islamic Jihad and prompted retaliatory rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave. (Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel Kills Islamic Jihad Chief in Gaza, Targets Official in Damascus

Israel killed the de facto commander of Islamic Jihad, Baha Abu Al-Ata, 42, in an airstrike on his home in Gaza City’s Shejaia district before dawn on Tuesday morning. Abu Al-Ata’s wife was also killed and two people were wounded in the attack, Islamic Jihad reported. The Iranian-backed Palestinian organization responded by launching rockets at communities across Israel’s south and central regions, as far away as Tel Aviv. The Iron Dome air defense system intercepted a number of rockets, while others were allowed to fall in open areas. There were no reports of injuries in Israel. Abu Al-Ata, according to Israeli government sources, was responsible for multiple rocket, drone, and sniper attacks on Israel as well as cross-border infiltrations in recent months, and was planning more. Israel also launched a missile strike on the home of an Islamic Jihad official, Akram Al-Ajouri, in Damascus. Syrian state media reported that two people, including one of the official’s sons, were killed and six people were wounded in that attack. Sirens sounded over broad areas of central Israel Tuesday morning, warning citizens to get to bomb shelters in advance of incoming rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. The Israel military’s Homefront Command ordered schools shut and advised civilians to stay home from work and close to bomb shelters that could be needed at a moment’s notice.

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