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SEPTEMBER 2020

Rockets Fly from Gaza Strip After Israeli Strike Kills Islamic Jihad Commander

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Rockets Fly from Gaza Strip After Israeli Strike Kills Islamic Jihad Commander

Click to see full-size image

UPDATE 12:32 CET: The initial version of the article mistakenly said that a building with Baha Abu Al Ata was targeted in Damascus.

In the early hours of November 12th, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out a “precision strike” on an Islamic Jihad building in the Gaza Strip, reportedly with one of the group’s commanders inside – Baha Abu Al Ata.

Another strike was allegedly carried out on a target in Damascus.

The operation was approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the security cabinet and carried out jointly by the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman confirmed that the military had received specific intelligence on his location and targeted the specific room where al-Ata was sleeping and did not destroy the entire building in order to avoid civilian casualties.

“Over the past few months the IDF warned several times, and in various ways, that he should stop his activities,” Zilberman said. “The Chief of Staff decided on this operation because there was no other way.”

The IDF claimed that he was specifically responsible for hundreds of “terror attacks” on Israeli military personnel and civilians, and the strike was carried out to avoid an “imminent threat.”

In addition to al-Ata’s killing, Syrian media reported that another senior PIJ commander, Akram al-Ajouri along with his wife and daughter were killed in an airstrike in Damascus overnight by an Israeli strike. This information hasn’t been confirmed by the Israeli side.

One missile over Damascus was allegedly intercepted, but reports only said that it was a “hostile target,” and there is a video purportedly showing what transpired.

In response, as if the IDF had actually completely failed to foil the “imminent attack” a large escalation began in Gaza with upwards of 50 rockets being launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

HINT: The image shows the building in Damascus that was struck.

The Islamic Jihad response began almost immediately after Baha Abu Al Ata was assassinated with a missile strike. Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziad al Nakhaleh, based in Lebanon, said in response to the assassination that Netanyahu “crossed all red lines.”

“We are going to war,” Nakhalaeh said.

There are some videos showing rocket launches, such as one from Fox News correspondent in Israel Trey Yingst:

The IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories closed the Erez and Kerem HaShalom Crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip and restricted the fishing zone Palestinians can enter off the coast of Gaza.

“We stand behind the security forces, who have been working for the success of this morning’s operations for a long time,” said Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in a statement. “I know that they, and the Israeli government that approved the operation, have Israel’s security, and only that, in their minds.

“This is no time for political squabbles, and those who do so bring no credit to themselves. It is the time to stop such statements immediately. Israeli citizens – please listen to the life-saving instructions of the IDF Home Front Command and take good care of yourselves.”

Some schools, universities and even the Netherlands Mission in Israel are closed on November 12th, because of fears of a larger escalation.

Additonally, public gatherings in southern Israel are to be no more than 100 people in an enclosed area. In central Israel the limit is 300 people, Channel 12 reported.

“In consultation with the Home Front Command, classes and tests have been cancelled at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Beer-Sheva campuses only). Employees should not come to work today,” the university wrote in a statement.

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