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Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza Kill 21 Palestinians, Rocket Fire on Israel Continues

Israel airstrikes against Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip killed 11 people and wounded 19 Wednesday morning. A spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qedra, told The Media Line that 21 Palestinians have been killed and 69 wounded since Tuesday morning’s targeted assassination of Islamic Jihad’s commander, Baha Abu Al-Ata. The Israeli military said Abu Al-Ata was responsible for “hundreds of terror attacks” on Israelis and that his next attack was “imminent.” In response to the strike on Abu Al-Ata and a near-simultaneous attack, widely attributed to Israel, on the home of an Islamic Jihad official in Damascus, the organization unleashed a barrage of rocket fire – more than 250 rockets according to the Israeli military – on Israeli communities as far north as Tel Aviv. No Israelis were killed in the rocket attacks; two were wounded by debris and many were treated for trauma. According to the Israeli military, the Iron Dome air defense system intercepted about 90% of the rockets targeting populated areas, though a few homes and a major highway were directly hit. The Iron Dome does not intercept rockets on trajectories to hit open areas such as fields. Schools in Tel Aviv, which were closed on Tuesday, reopened Wednesday morning. Further south, in the Gaza border region and as far north as Rehovot, they remain closed.