Gaza death toll climbs, tensions rise after Israeli assassination of Islamic Jihad leader

Gaza death toll climbs, tensions rise after Israeli assassination of Islamic Jihad leader

Tensions are high in Gaza after Israel’s targeted assassination of an Islamic Jihad leader led to intense cross border fire between the territories, resulting in the death of more than 25 people, including children, and the injury of more than 70 others

The violence began overnight on Monday when Israel launched airstrikes in both Gaza and Syria, targeting senior leaders of the Islamic Jihad group, prompting a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza and concerns that Israel was restarting its practice of targeted assassinations of Palestinian political figures

Both Israeli and Islamic Jihad officials confirmed the killing of the group’s Gaza-based leader, 42-year-old Bahaa Abu al-Atta, along with his wife Asma. The group also claimed that two others, suspected to be the pair’s children, were injured in the attack

Separately, Syrian state TV reported that Israel also conducted airstrikes in Damascus, targeting the home of another Islamic Jihad leader, Akram al-Ajouri

Al-Ajouri allegedly survived the attack, though it was reported that his son and granddaughter were killed. Unlike the attack in Gaza, Israel did not confirm the attack in Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later said that the operation in Gaza was approved 10 days prior by the government’s

Relatives of Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu Al-Atta, who died hit by an Israeli airstrike mourn during his funeral in Gaza City, on November 12, 2019

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