New Delhi: In a serious escalation, Gaza-based militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) on Tuesday fired nearly 200 rockets into Israel after the Israel Air Force, earlier in the day, killed top PIJ commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata in an air raid.
As a volley of rocket strikes hit Israel, emergency sirens sounded across the country and people took shelters in bomb-proof rooms and schools and other establishments have been ordered closed. According to reports dozens of Israelis have been treated for injuries sustained directly or indirectly due to the Responding to the attacks, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), carried out more strikes at PIJ sites including its rocket launching pads, underground terror infrastructure, operation rooms etc.
Earlier in the day, 42-year-old al-Ata was killed as he and his wife (who was also killed) slept at their home in eastern Gaza. Addressing media after the strike, IDF spokesperson Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus said that al-Ata was responsible for several recent rocket attacks in southern Israel and was planning more such strikes.
“Intelligence indicated that it was just a matter of time before he carried out his next attack,” the IDF spokesperson said.
In his address to the nation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called him an ‘arch-terrorist’, who, he said, was the main instigator of terrorism from the Gaza strip. Congratulating the IDF and intelligence agencies, he also explained how the said action came about.
Calling al-Ata a ‘hero’, the PIJ, in a statement, had said that their response to this ‘crime’ by Israel would have no limits.