A pair of airstrikes from Israel early Tuesday targeted senior Islamic Jihad commanders in Gaza and Syria, escalating Israel’s confrontation with Iran and Palestinian militants.
The Israeli airstrike in eastern Gaza killed Bahaa Abu el-Atta and his wife. The Islamic Jihad fired rockets from Gaza in response, some of which reached as far as the Tel Aviv heartland. The military said Abu el-Atta was the militant’s group top commander in Gaza.
An Israeli airstrike in Syria’s capital Damascus targeted Islamic Jihad commander Akram al-Ajouri, who was not harmed. A state-run news agency in Syria said that Israeli warplanes fired three missiles at the commander’s home, killing his son and granddaughter.
The Israeli military had no comment.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had no interest in escalating the conflict, but would do what was necessary to defend against people like Abu el-Atta, who he called the “main generator of terrorism from the Gaza strip.”
“He was in the midst of plotting additional attacks these very days. He was a ticking bomb,” Netanyahu said.