A top commander of the Iran-aligned Islamic Jihad was killed in a “precision strike” in Gaza early Tuesday. Israeli Defense Forces said it had killed Baha Abu Al-Ata, in a surgical strike with minimal civilian casualties.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired some 190 rockets into Israel on Tuesday in retaliation to Israels targeted airstrikes on senior Islamic jihad commanders in Gaza and Syria.
Islamic Jihad said in a statement: “The response to this crime will have no limits” and called the attack a “declaration of war against the Palestinian people.”
According to Islamic Jihad, Abu al-Ata was a prominent member of its military wing and played a crucial role in carrying out operations against Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the news during a televised appearance on Tuesday, describing Al-Ata as an “arch-terrorist” and “the main generator of terrorism from the Gaza Strip” in the past year.
“He initiated, planned, and carried out many terrorist attacks. He fired hundreds of rockets at communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, whose suffering we have seen. He was in the midst of planning additional attacks in the immediate short term.
He was a ticking time bomb,” he said.
However, the Prime Minister stressed that “Israel is not interested in an escalation, but we will do everything necessary to protect ourselves” from individuals like Al-Ata.
“The basic assumption of all terrorists is identical. They think that they can attack civilians and concurrently hide behind civilians. However, we have proven that it is possible to attack murderers with minimal harm to innocents,” he added.
Military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Al-Ata was a “ticking time bomb” and responsible for several recent rocket attacks on Israel and was planning more attacks in the future.
Conricus told reporters: “We essentially over the last week have been waiting for the opportune moment to conduct this surgical strike.”
The military spokesman said the airstrike was carried out with a warplane that destroyed only the floor of the building where Abu Al-Ata was hiding in order to minimize “collateral dRead More – Source