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Islamic Jihad leader killed in Israeli air strike

Posted November 12, 2019 5:25 a.m. EST

— A senior commander of Gaza Strip militant group Islamic Jihad has been killed in an Israeli air strike, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Prime Minister's Office said in a statement Tuesday.

And, in Damascus, Syria says another Israeli air strike killed at least two people including the son of Islamic Jihad leader, Akram al-Ajouri.

The moves clearly ignite tension along the Israel-Gaza border. Baha Abu al-Ata was killed in the overnight strike on a house in Shajaiyah, in Gaza City. His wife Asma Abu Al-Ata was also killed, while seven others -- including children -- were injured, Palestinian Ministry of Health officials said.

Abu al-Ata was responsible for rocket fire from Gaza in recent months, the Prime Minister's Office said shortly after the strike, as well as planning numerous other attacks against Israel.

"Abu al-Ata was promoting preparations to commit immediate terror attacks in various ways towards Israeli civilian and IDF troops during the recent few days," an IDF statement said. "Al-Ata trained terror squads for infiltration and sniper attacks, drone launching and rocket fire to different distances."

Islamic Jihad vowed to avenge the killing, saying in a statement: "The response to this crime will have no limits ... the occupation will be the one responsible for this aggression."

Islamic Jihad leader, Khaled al-Batsh, said at a press conference Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, "will pay a high price."

Hamas, the militant group that runs Gaza, also said Abu Al-Ata's death would "not pass without a response."

Fifty rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza, with about 20 intercepted, after the strike that killed Abu al-Ata, the IDF said. Two people sustained light injuries on the eastern outskirts of Ashdod, according to Israeli emergency service United Hatzalah.

Israel ordered all schools and workplaces in Tel Aviv, as well as cities near Gaza to the country's south, to close.

In Damascus, the son of another Islamic Jihad leader, Akram al-Ajouri, was killed in overnight strikes, according to Syria's state-run SANA news agency. Another person was killed and 10 others injured, including Ajouri's daughter, according to SANA.

SANA blamed Israel for the attack, saying three missiles were launched at Damascus by aircraft. The IDF offered no comment when contacted by CNN.

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