06:33 GMT23 April 2021
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    Recently, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that Israel "will be forced" to launch a military operation in Gaza unless the situation on the borders is normalised after the recent exchange of fire with the Hamas movement, which controls the Strip.

    The Iron Dome anti-missile system has reportedly intercepted numerous projectiles over southern Israel early Tuesday, shortly after the Israel Defence Forces announced on Twitter that Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior commander of the Islamic Jihad movement operating in the Gaza Strip, was killed as a result of an Israeli military strike on his home.

    ​According to reports, sirens also sounded in the city of Rishon LeTsiyon, Holon and Sderot and in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip.

    The IDF spokesman said that the forces targeted al-Ata because he was "a ticking bomb" and was allegedly plotting "imminent" attacks on Israel.

    Israel Radio said, citing senior military officials, that the IDF had managed to target the specific room where al-Ata was sleeping, and therefore claim they were able to avoid destroying  the entire building.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the decision to target al-Ata was taken Sunday by the cabinet.

    "Senior Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata was targeted overnight in Gaza. He was responsible for many terrorist attacks and the firing of rockets at Israel in recent months and had intended to carry out imminent attacks. The IDF action was recommended by the IDF Chief-of-Staff and ISA Director and was approved by the Prime Minister and Defense Minister after it had been presented to – and approved by – the Security Cabinet", the prime minister's office tweeted.

    The Islamic Jihad movement has issued a statement in which it mourns the deceased commander, al-Ata, who headed the military council of the Al-Quds Brigade, the military arm of the Islamic Jihad, and vows to avenge his death.

    The Palestinian health ministry has meanwhile said that "a Palestinian man a woman were killed, and two more people were injured in an airstrike at a house in the eastern part of al-Shejaya in the eastern Gaza Strip".

    While the IDF has yet to confirm or deny the interception of rockets, the military did urge residents of southern Israel to stay close to bomb shelters as the region was on high alert following the operation, The Times of Israel reported.

    In a parallel development Reuters reported citing a statement issued by the militant group that a top Islamic Jihad commander, identified as Akram al-Ajouri, had allegedly been targeted in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Tuesday. The statement didn't immediately blame anyone for the incident; the IDF is said to have declined to comment.

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    • 22:46

      IDF Strikes a Number of Targets in the Gaza Strip

      Israeli Defence Forces announced their aircraft targeted a number of Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip, a short while ago. According to the military among the targets were several rocket launchers, as well as an underground infrastructure and operations rooms of the organization. In addition IDF said it targeted three operatives, who launched rockets at Israeli territory from the northern Gaza Strip.

    • 21:16

      Eliminated Palestinian Commander Plotted Attack in Coming Days - Israeli Army

      The commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, Baha Abu Al Ata, who was eliminated as a result of an Israeli strike at his home in the early hours of Tuesday, was plotting another attack in the coming days, Israel Defense Forces spokesman Jonathan Conricus said.

      "Early in the morning, at 4 a.m., we had the opportunity to eliminate the terrorist. Based on our intelligence, we realized that he was a ticking bomb, he already had blood on his hands from previous attacks that he planned and perpetrated. ... We know that he was planning another attack in the coming days," the spokesman said during a phone briefing.

      According to Conricus, Baha Abu Al Ata had a lot of experience and he intended to carry out a combined attack using different types of weapons and different techniques.

      The PIJ commander was monitored for a long time, but the decision to eliminate him was made about a week ago, after which the Israeli army was waiting for a suitable opportunity to strike, he added.

      Conricus also noted that Israel’s response to the massive shelling from Gaza was "restrained and calm."

      "We are not trying to aggravate the situation," he said, noting that Israel was ready for "various scenarios."

      A spokesman also said that he was unaware of any casualties in the IDF ranks.

    • 20:46

      Death Toll From Israeli Air Strikes Near Gaza Strip Rises to 10, Health Ministry Says

      The death toll from Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip has grown to 10, the spokeswoman for the enclave's Health Ministry, Wafaa Yagi, said on Tuesday.

    • 20:46

      UN Concerned by Casualties Reported On Both Sides Amid Gaza Escalation

      The United Nations is concerned about the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip towards Israel that has led to casualties on both sides, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

      "We are concerned about reports of casualties on either side and beyond that, we are monitoring the situation very closely," Haq said.

    • 18:24

      Israeli Military Declares 48-Hour Emergency in Gaza Border Area

      Israel’s new Defense Minister Naftali Bennet on Tuesday declared an 48-hour emergency in a 50 mile area south of the Gaza Strip after a day of fierce cross-border fire.

      What the ministry described as a "special situation" will cover the so-called home front area, going as far as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It may be lifted sooner, according to the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.

    • 17:25

      EU Calls for Political Solution to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Amid Gaza Escalation

      The European External Action Service (EEAS) said on Tuesday that the situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip should be resolved through political means to ensure civilians' safety.

      "As the EU has consistently reiterated, only a political solution can put an end to these continuing cycles of violence," spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said in a statement.

      The EU also condemned the ongoing airstrikes and called for "a rapid and complete de-escalation" to ensure security in the area and safeguard the public.

    • 17:21

      Approximately 190 Rockets Have Been Fired From Gaza Toward Israel Since Tuesday Morning - IDF

      Some 190 rockets were fired by Palestinian militants towards Israel from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday amid the escalation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Israeli Army press service reported.

      "About 190 rockets have been launched since Tuesday morning from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. The Iron Dome system intercepted dozens of rockets in accordance with standards," the report said.

    • 17:00

      Israel Against Escalating Situation With Gaza, Ready for Any Scenario - Chief of Staff

      Israel does not want to see the situation along the Gaza Strip's border worsen but stands ready to defend itself in case any attack, Aviv Kochavi, the chief of General Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), said on Tuesday, commenting on growing tensions after the killing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Group (PIJ) commander.

      "We do not want escalation. But we understand that this is possible. We are ready to defend Israel from the sea, on land and in the air. We are ready to defend ourselves against a new attack that has already begun. We are ready to continue targeted operations. We do not want escalation, but we are ready for any scenario," Kochavi said at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    • 16:55

      Israeli Military Hardware on Its Way to Gaza

    • 15:50

      Sirens Go off in Kibbutz Nirim - IDF

    • 15:01

      Sirens Go off in Kibbutz Netiv HaAsara, Kibbutz Nahal Oz - IDF

    • 14:47

      Israel Shuts Fishing Area Off Gaza Exclave's Shore – Chief Unionist

      Israel has banned Palestinians from fishing off the coast of the Gaza Strip, the head of Gaza's fishermen's union told Sputnik on Tuesday, after a massive exchange of cross-border fire.

      "Israel told the Palestinian Association of Palestinian Fishermen that the sea was off-limits until further notice," Zakaria Baker said.

      Israel has routinely responded to rocket launches from Gaza by reducing the permissible fishing area, which sustains the Palestinian exclave’s struggling population.

    • 14:18

      Sirens Go off in Erez, Western Israel

    • 14:07

      IDF Launches Additional Strike Targeting 'Islamic Jihad' Targets in Gaza

    • 13:48

      IDF Claims Its Tanks Hit 'Islamic Jihad' Targets in Gaza

    • 13:46

      Naftali Bennett Takes Over as Defence Minister Amid Escalating Tensions

    • 11:39

      Fire Breaks Out at Sderot Factory After It Was Hit by Rocket

    • 10:42

      Netanyahu Says Israel is Not Interested in Escalation

      "Israel is not interested in escalation, but we will do everything required to protect ourselves. This could take time. What is needed is stamina and cool-headedness", the Israeli prime minister told reporters at military headquarters. 

    • 10:03

      'We Targeted Them Before They Could Target Us': IDF Claims It Tackled Two Islamic Jihad Operatives Preparing to Fire More Rockets

    • 09:42

      Watch Moment Rocket Fired From Gaza Hits Israeli Highway

      Israeli police block the road moments after a rocket fired by Palestinians militants from Gaza hit a main free way between Ashdod and Tel Aviv near Ashdod Israel, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019

      Watch Moment Rocket Fired From Gaza Hits Israeli Highway

      After the commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, Baha Abu Al Ata, was killed as a result of an Israeli strike about 50 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel.
      Read more
    • 09:26

      'We Hear the Exchange of Fire on Almost a Daily Basis' - Gaza Border Town Resident

      Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept rocket from Gaza Strip, near Israel and Gaza border, Sunday, May 5, 2019. Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Sunday intensified a wave of rocket fire into southern Israel, striking towns and cities across the region while Israeli forces struck dozens of targets throughout Gaza, including militant sites that it said were concealed in homes or residential areas

      'We Hear the Exchange of Fire on Almost a Daily Basis' - Gaza Border Town Resident

      Earlier in the day, Baha Abu al-Ata, commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s (PIJ) Al-Quds Brigades, was killed as a result of an Israeli airstrike on his home. Shortly thereafter, dozens of rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel, with only about 20 being intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
      Read more
    • 09:17

      Moscow Concerned With Escalating Tensions in Gaza Strip, Israel, Calls for Restraint

    • 08:27

      Gantz-Liberman Meeting on Coalition Talks Called Off 'Due to Security Situation'

    • 08:19

      IDF Says Residents Can Go to Work, Provided There's Bomb Shelter Nearby

      “In light of a new situational assessment, in the Shfela, Dan and Yarkon regions it is now permitted to go to work so long as there is a proper bomb shelter that can be reached,” the Israeli military said.

    • 07:36

      IDF Says Iron Dome Intercepted Only About 20 of the 50 Rockets Launched From the Gaza Strip

    • 07:34

      Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Expected to Give Televised Address

      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi are set to address the nation from IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv at 10:30 a.m. (local time).

    • 07:30

      Islamic Jihad Head Says 'We Are Going to War' - Reports

      According to The Times of Israel, citing Dar al-Hayat, an Arabic-language news site, the secretary-general of Islamic Jihad, Ziad al-Nakhala, said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had crossed “all the red lines”.

      “We are going to war. Netanyahu has crossed all the red lines in the assassination of Al-Quds Brigades Commander Baha Abu al-Ata. We we will respond forcefully", he was quoted as saying.

    • 06:41

      IDF Claims Islamic Jihad is Firing Rockets 'Indiscriminately' at Civilians Across Israel

    • 06:38

      Israeli President Calls for Political Unity

      "We stand behind the security forces, who have been working for the success of this morning’s operations for a long time. I know that they and the Israeli government that approved the operation, have Israel’s security, and only that, in their minds. This is no time for political squabbles, and those who do so bring no credit to themselves. It is the time to stop such statements immediately. Israeli citizens – please listen to the life-saving instructions of the IDF Home Front Command and take good care of yourselves", President Reuven Rivlin said.

    • 06:19

      Total of 40 Rockets Launched From Gaza at Israel - Reports

    • 06:02

      Red Alerts Rock Tel Aviv, Jaffa Following IDF Operation Against Islamic Jihad Commander

    • 05:50

      IDF Shares Video of 'Multiple Rockets Fired by Islamic Jihad' at Israeli Civilians

    • 05:48

      IDF Reportedly Prepared for 'Several Days of Battle'

      “We are prepared for several days of battle, with an aerial defence shield, including in the center of the country,” The Times of Israel reported, citing an IDF spokesman as saying.

    • 05:45

      School, Work Cancelled in Areas Between Gaza and Tel Aviv

    • 05:42

      Gantz: Fight Against Terror is Ongoing and Requires Moments in Which Difficult Decisions Must be Made

      "The fight against terror is ongoing and requires moments in which difficult decisions must be made. The political echelon and the IDF made the right decision last night for all Israeli citizens and the residents of the South. Blue and White will support all appropriate decisions made for the security of the State and will put the security of all of its residents above politics. Every terrorist who threatens our security should know that he will end up dead", Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz said, while commenting on the IDF operation.

    Live Updates: Dozens of Rockets Fired at Israel From Gaza After IDF Kills Islamic Jihad Commander


    Israeli Minister Not Ruling Out Military Operation in Gaza After Weekend Fire Exchange
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