The al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military wing, has vowed a major response to Ata’s assassination in a statement.
“We announce the general mobilization of our fighters and units and we affirm that the response to this crime will have no limits and will be tantamount to the size of the crime that the criminal enemy perpetrated,” the statement said.
Ata, the Quds Brigades added, was “one of the most prominent members of its military council and the commander of the northern part” of Gaza.
Separately, the fellow Hamas resistance movement said Israel “bears full responsibility for all consequences of this escalation” and pledged that Ata’s death “will not go unpunished.”
Gaza responds with rocket barrage
Shortly after the Israeli strike, Palestinians launched a salvo of rockets into the occupied territories, setting off sirens in Tel Aviv, Sderot, Gedera and Ashdod.
“Non-essential” workers in Tel Aviv and central cities have been told to stay home. Schools and universities are closed. A ban on public gatherings is also in place.
The Israeli army said Gaza-based Palestinian resistance fighters had pounded the occupied-territories with “substantial” rocket fire Tuesday.
“There is substantial fire,” army spokesman Jonathan Conricus told journalists in a conference call. “We are preparing for a number of days of fighting.”
Meanwhile, the Israeli regime targeted another Islamic Jihad figure in Syria, but failed to assassinate him.
Syrian state media reported that an Israeli strike had hit the home of Akram al-Ajouri in Damascus, killing his son and another person. The Islamic Jihad confirmed the death of Ajouri’s son.
The assassination is likely to fuel tensions between Tel Aviv and Gaza, which has been under a crippling siege by Israel since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008.
Gaza has also witnessed deadly tensions since March 30, 2018 which marked the start of the Great March of Return protests, with participants demanding the right to return for the Palestinians driven out of their homeland.
This is a developing news story.