Iran-backed Islamic Jihad Says ‘We Are Going to War’ With Israel After Assassination

After Israel killed a top commander from the Iranian-backed Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in a rare targeted strike in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the group's leader said that Israel has pushed the group "to go to war." 

– Haaretz Weekly 12/11

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The slaying of Baha Abu Al-Atta in his Gaza home looked likely to pose a new challenge for Gaza's ruling Hamas faction, which has mostly tried to maintain a truce with Israel since a 2014 war.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad released a statement saying, “These terrorist crimes are aggression and a declaration of war on the Palestinian people, and the enemy bears for responsibility for them.”

The group added “The Al-Quds Brigades and the valiant resistance, which announced a mobilization and started to hit back against this aggression and terrorism, will continue to forcefully and courageously defend the dignity of the Palestinian people.” 

The funeral of Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu Al-Ata during in Gaza City, November 12, 2019.AFP

Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu Al-Atta during his funeral in Gaza City, November 12, 2019. MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS

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Additionally, Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhala of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad told the Dar al-Hayat Arabic-language news site, “We are going to war. Netanyahu has crossed all the red lines in assassinating Al-Quds Brigades Commander Baha Abu al-Ata. We will respond forcefully.”

Israel also launched a missile attack targeting the home of an Islamic Jihad official in Damascus, killing one of his sons, Syrian state media said. Islamic Jihad said the target was the home of political leader Akram Al-Ajouri.