Israel kills senior Islamic Jihad official

As had been discussed in senior military circles in the past days, the Israeli air force carried out precision strikes last night aimed at executing specific members of the Palestinian armed groups in Gaza.

report by Gabriel Haritos*

Early in the morning, Israeli air strikes targeted the home of Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior Islamic Jihad official, who – according to Israeli media – had the general command to launch rockets on his organization.

Abu al-Ata’s death was confirmed by Islamic Jihad, as well as the death of his wife and a third person who was at the home at the time of the bombing.

Islamic Jihad says in a statement that “The gates of hell have been opened” and since the early morning hours so far at least 30 rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israeli settlements bordering Israel.

An unusual move was made by the Israeli Civil Defense Service. While the closure of schools in the Israeli-Gaza border is expected, this time Civil Defense decided to close schools and the wider Tel Aviv area. Also, according to the same decision of the Civil Defense Service, groups of more than 1000 people are currently banned from open-air events.

Israelis expect rockets from Islamic Jihad in the wider area of ​​Tel Aviv – in addition to the expected launches against the Israeli settlements on the border with Gaza.

*Gabriel Haritos, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow, Ben-Gurion Research Institute, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Senior Fellow, Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs, University of Nicosia.