Israel kills Baha Abu Al-Ata, top Palestinian militant in Gaza

Clay Curtis
November 12, 2019

Israeli warplanes killed Baha Abu al-Ata with an airstrike in Shejaiyah, near Gaza City.

In a parallel development Reuters reported citing a statement issued by the militant group that a top Islamic Jihad commander, identified as Akram al-Ajouri, had allegedly been targeted in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Tuesday.

Israel blamed Ata for recent rocket fire into its territory and said he was preparing further attacks.

Since the 2014 war, Israel has mostly refrained from targeted assassinations of senior Gaza militants, but did so one time in May, Israeli airplanes killed a Hamas commander and financial broker in a vehicle travelling in Gaza City during a three-day exchange of fire.

Israel Radio said, citing senior military officials, that the IDF had managed to target the specific room where al-Ata was sleeping, and therefore claim they were able to avoid destroying the entire building.

"We are going to war", said Ziad al-Nakhala, the secretary general of Islamic Jihad.

The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad said an attack was carried out against the home of one of its officials in Damascus on Tuesday, killing the man's son.

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"Kahol Lavan will back up any activity that is right for Israel's security and put the safety of the people above politics".

"There must be a massive response which matches the crimes".

The militant Hamas movement said that Israel "bears all the consequences and results from this unsafe targeting and escalation". It added that his "next attack was imminent".

An Islamic Jihad statement confirmed the death of Al-Atta, who it said had been in the midst of "heroic jihadist action".

Will Israel's next government take a new approach on Gaza?

Abu-Amer said that the timing of abul-Ata's assassination was related to the aftermath of the Israeli elections as Netanyahu would gain several advantages from it.

Netanyahu's party could break Israel's political deadlock by dumping him.

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