Several international news outlets have confirmed that an early-morning strike on the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces killed the leader of a high-profile terror group called Islamic Jihad.
“Israel described the Gaza commander, Baha Abu al-Ata, as a ‘ticking bomb’ who was ‘responsible for most of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s activity in the Gaza Strip.’ The group is listed as a terrorist organization by many countries, and is supported by Iran,” The New York Times reported.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the attack on Twitter.
“Islamic Jihad is a terror group in Gaza. Its stated goal is the annihilation of Israel. Today they fired dozens of rockets into Israel. We watched as 2 Islamic Jihad operatives prepared to fire more rockets. We targeted them before they could target us,” the military group said.
The IDF also reported that it destroyed a tunnel that terrorists were planning to use in future attacks.
“The Israeli Air Force just struck the opening of an Islamic Jihad underground terror tunnel in #Gaza. They planned to use it to attack Israeli civilians. Above and below ground, we will continue to defend Israeli civilians,” the IDF said.
Islamic Jihad is funded by Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.
Abu al-Ata was reportedly responsible for rocket attacks on the town of Sderot in August. He was being monitored as he planned further attacks, the report said.
“Islamic Jihad said that the commander’s wife was also killed in the attack, at 4 a.m., which the Israeli military said was a missile strike from a fighter jet,” New York Times said.
According to The New York Times’ report, the Israeli military also struck a target in Damascus, Syria.
“Islamic Jihad also blamed Israel for another missile attack at dawn on Tuesday on the Damascus home of Akram al-Ajouri, describing him as a member of the group’s political bureau in Syria,” the report said.
Al-Ajouri reportedly survived the attack, but his son was killed.
Now, tempers are flaring in Gaza, and the IDF has reported numerous rocket launches from Gaza at Israeli civilians.
“Since approx. 5:00am, Islamic Jihad in Gaza have been firing rockets at Israeli civilians. Continuously. The time is now 5:00 pm. That’s 12 hours of rocket attacks,” IDF said.
Israel reportedly said that its Iron Dome defense system intercepted 20 rockets from Gaza during the prolonged attack. Two Israeli men have reportedly been injured.
The IDF released a video of a rocket exploding near a busy highway.
“Islamic Jihad has killed thousands of civilians around the world & today they are once again targeting Israeli civilians with rockets,” an accompanying message said.
As tempers flare in the delicate region, the rest of the world monitors the situation closely.
U.S. foreign policy also plays a key role in the conflict in Gaza. President Donald J. Trump has steered his foreign policy away from the expansion of endless wars in the Middle East, and towards peaceful withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region. He has been a staunch supporter of the state of Israel during his tenure in office.
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