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  • Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Islamic Jihad field commander Baha Abu Al-Atta during his funeral in Gaza City.

    Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Islamic Jihad field commander Baha Abu Al-Atta during his funeral in Gaza City. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 November 2019
Opinion

Palestinian health medicals also reported that more than 40 other people were wounded, saying most of the victims are civilians.

At least 10 Palestinians have been killed since Tuesday morning in Israeli strikes on Gaza, including a top commander from the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, according to the enclave's health ministry. 

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Palestinian Killed, Two Wounded in Israel strikes on Gaza

Palestinian health medicals also reported that more than 40 other people were wounded, saying most of the victims are civilians.

Israel’s initial airstrike that was targetting leader Bahaa Abu al-Atta and his wife in their home, prompted reprisal rocket attacks and caused the most serious escalation between the two sides over the last six months. 

Islamic Jihad's armed wing announced the killing of Abu al-Atta in a statement after Israel confirmed it targeted the 42-year-old leader.

"Our inevitable retaliation will rock the Zionist entity," the group said referring to Israel and promising to take revenge.

Dozens of rockets were launched towards Israel some of them even reaching Tel Aviv, the Israeli military said, adding that most of the rockets had been intercepted while others fell in open areas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned an extended period of fighting could now take place.

"Israel is not interested in escalation, but we will do everything required to protect ourselves," he said. "This could take time. What is needed is stamina and cool-headedness."

Israel’s armed forces said Netanyahu had signed off on the operation against the Palestinian leader, accusing him of coordinating rocket, drone and sniper attacks, and attempted infiltrations into the Jewish state over the past months.

"Abu al-Atta was responsible for most of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's activity in the Gaza Strip and was a ticking bomb," it said, accusing al-Atta of planning "imminent terror attacks through various means."

Hamas, the Palestinian political organization that governs the enclave, said Israel "bears full responsibility for all consequences of this escalation", and promised Abu al-Atta's death "will not go unpunished".

Separately, Syrian state media said a missile attack had hit the home of an Islamic Jihad senior figure Akram al-Ajouri in Damascus, killing two people including one of his sons.

Syria said Israel carried out the strike, but unlike for Gaza, Israel did not confirm it.

Netanyahu’s administration’s latest assault is all the more surprising that targeted assassinations of Palestinian leaders, once widely used by Israel, have been abandoned in recent years.

Dubbed the largest open-air prison in the world, the Gaza strip and its 2 million residents have been suffering an illegal blockade for more than 10 years both from Israel and Egypt, restricting the population’s access to food, water, electricity, healthcare services, and severely curtailing their freedom of movement.

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