Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Gaza militants fire rockets into Israel after Islamic jihad leader killed

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TEL AVIV—Militants in Gaza fired at least 50 rockets into Israel early Tuesday, setting off sirens and forcing people into bomb shelters across the country including in Tel Aviv, after Israel’s military killed a senior leader of the second-largest militant group in the Palestinian territory.

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Israeli authorities said schools across southern Israel and the Tel Aviv region were closed after rockets reached the area. The officials also asked that nonessential work be suspended. Israeli authorities reported at least two injuries in Israel from the rockets, including an 8-year-old girl who is in critical condition after losing consciousness while running to a bomb shelter.

Nov. 12: Smoke rises after an Israeli forces strike in Gaza City. Israel killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza early Tuesday in a resumption of pinpointed targeting that threatens a fierce round of cross-border violence with Palestinian militants. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

The rocket fire comes after Israel’s military said it killed the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s senior leader Baha Abu Al-Ata in a targeted airstrike. It accused the militant commander of orchestrating numerous rocket attacks against Israel in recent months and of planning another imminent attack.

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Mr. Abu Al-Ata was a “ticking bomb,” who was planning an attack that included sniper fire, IEDs and ground units against Israeli soldiers and possibly civilians.


“We have been looking for the opportune moment for a week. We were waiting for…when he was not surrounded by human shields,” Conricus said.

Conricus added that Israel had sent a message to Hamas and Islamic Jihad that it doesn’t want an escalation following the assassination.

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“The response to this crime will have no limits,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement, referring to Mr. Abu Al-Ata’s killing.

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