The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Wednesday that it was "raining missiles" across the country, with Islamic jihad firing a single projectile every seven minutes after a senior terrorist group commander was killed by Israeli military in a targeted air strike
42-year-old Bahu Abu al-Ata and his wife were killed while sleeping at their home in Eastern Gaza, said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conrick. Conrick added that Ata is responsible for a number of recent rocket attacks on southern Israel, and says he is actively planning new attacks.
In response to the killing of Abu al-Ata, Islamic Jihad, a Iran-backed militant group sworn to destroy Israel, fired dozens of missiles at Israel. Some rockets reached Tel Aviv, prompting Israel to launch dozens of air strikes in the toughest of months.
MORE THAN 200 rockets fired in Israel by Gaza AFTER ISLAMIC JIGAD LEADER Killed
Palestinian health officials say death toll increased to 26 in Gaza, including a 7-year-old boy and two others. It is reported that more than 70 were injured. The death toll given by employees includes at least 16 fighters. Five civilians, including a woman and a boy aged 17, 16 and 7, were among those killed. The identity of the others killed was not immediately known.
The IDF tweeted photos of suspected "terrorists" on Wednesday, writing: "As of 4 a.m. Tuesday, we were targeting terrorists involved in firing rockets at Israeli civilians. We killed 20 terrorists, most of them Islamic Jihad. Our mission is to protect the people of Israel. "
Earlier on Wednesday, the IDF tweeted:" Another Islamic Jihad terrorist in Gaza was preparing to launch rockets at Israel. Little did she know that Israel was watching. The terrorist has been eliminated. "
" All the attacks on Israel in the last half year have been the responsibility of one particular terrorist, his name was Baha'u'Ab-al-Ata, "Conrick said during a live shooting on Wednesday on Wednesday, filmed in front of a n air defense battery. at the Iron Dome in southern Israel. "It is no longer a problem."
"He was at the end of a specific surgery by the IDF yesterday morning. We sent specific ammunition and we were able to kill it very accurately without causing much collateral damage around it, "Conrick said." We knew this man was a bomb. There's a lot of blood on your hands. "
He added:" He [Abu al-Ata] planned to carry out another attack on Israel in the coming days. This is exactly what made us successful in this campaign, which was successfully completed … this particular terrorist will no longer threaten additional Israeli civilians. "
Conrick told Vedneda y that after Abu al-Ata was killed by Islamic jihad he fired rockets at Israel," fortunately without significant Israeli casualties. "
He attributes this to the Iron Dome, which he claims is "A unique Israeli system developed in conjunction with the US Defense Industry, which has the capacity to intercept missiles in flight and blast them into the sky to make sure that Israeli civilians are safe and safe."
under a barrage of more than 220 rockets fired by Islamic Jihad from Gaza, "said Kon Rick added that Iron Dome batteries installed throughout the country, mainly in the south, had helped Israel "defend itself against more than 200 rockets fired from Gaza."
By Wednesday evening, the number of rockets fired in Israel had increased to more than 360, according to the Israeli army.
GAZA MILITANTS FIRE ROCKETSES IN ISRAEL AFTER ISLAMIC Jihad Leader KILLED
On Wednesday night, the IDF tweeted "1 rocket every 7 minutes. That's why Islamic Jihad has been firing rockets at Israel since yesterday morning.
Another IDF tweeter said, "Imagine the weather app saying it's raining missiles. This is what Israeli civilians are experiencing at the moment: non-stop rockets fired at them by Islamic Jihad in Gaza. We will continue to operate until there is clear sky over Israel. "
A continuous rocket fire urges schools in southern Israel to remain closed Wednesday and keep people home from work. Large public meetings were banned.
In Gaza, schools and public institutions were also closed for the second consecutive day and most people remained indoors.
Calling a meeting of senior Israeli security officials, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped the fighting would end quickly.
"We are not inclined to escalate, but we will do everything necessary to restore peace and security.
Netanyahu also tweeted on Wednesday that he had spoken with authorities in the Gaza Strip and asked them to provide support and support to area citizens.
"I explained: terrorist leaders, commanders and activists know they are our target. We have increased our deterrence and changed the equation," Netanyahu said in a tweet.
Hamas, the larger and more powerful militant group that controls Gaza and has waged three wars with Israel, has so far avoided entering the conflict. As the governing body of the territory, it is also more practical than Islamic jihad and seems to have little desire for more fighting at a time when the Gaza economy is hurting. However, if the death toll continues to rise, this may change.
"If air strikes and aggression continue, Hamas and resistance groups will have to react morally and protect the Palestinian people," a Hamas official told Fox News.
The closest US envoy, Nikolai Mladenov, rushed to Cairo to work with Egyptian mediators on a peace deal. An Islamic jihad delegation was also expected in Egypt "very soon," according to Egyptian intelligence, which spoke on condition of anonymity, the Associated Press reported.
"I am very concerned about the ongoing and serious escalation between Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel," Mladenov said. "United States is working to urgently de-escalate the situation."
REPORTER'S NOTE: GAS VIOLENCE SHOWS THE HUMAN PARTY IS NOT USED IN WAR
"We are not trying. We don't want to make matters worse We are trying to calm the situation, but of course we are forced to defend and defend our civilians, "Conric said Wednesday. "We hope the situation will calm down. "
He added that the Israeli army had limited its strikes on Islamic jihad and avoided conflict with Hamas to prevent escalation.
"However, it is very clear that if there are victims of Israel, the situation will change dramatically. and we will be forced to react differently, "the Israeli military spokesman said.
Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nahala said in an interview late Wednesday that his group was ready to cease fire if Israel accepted"
"If we can reach an agreement, I can even announce a ceasefire over the phone," he said.
Although no Israeli death was reported, several homes suffered direct hits and there was a near miss on a main highway where a rocket crashed after a small vehicle. According to medical officials, three people suffered light wounds from shrapnel or broken glass caused by rocket fire. to evacuate. Israel said the tactic, known as "knocking on the roof," aims to reduce casualties before the target is hit.
Najab Zurob sat in the wreckage of his former home on Wednesday and reportedly said he had no idea why their house had been targeted.
"We have no relations with any factions," she said.
In another tweet on Wednesday, the IDF posted a photo of a building in Gaza that the Israeli military said was hit by a desecrated Islamic Jihad rocket. ,
In response, the UK-based human rights organization Amnesty International tweeted: "We strongly condemn the attack [the] by the Palestinian Independent Human Rights Commission, whose office in Gaza was hit by an Israeli rocket earlier this morning. Strikes against civilian buildings are a violation of international law. "
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In response, Fox News tourist" Trey Youngst tweeted: "Israel did not hit this building. Missile defiled by Gaza.
Trey Yingst and The Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.