Israel kills top militant leader

Israel kills top militant leader


Israel killed a top commander from the Iranian-backed Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad on Tuesday in the Gaza Strip, drawing day-long rocket salvoes in the worst cross-border fighting in months.

The rare targeted strike which killed Islamic Jihad's Baha Abu Al-Atta in Gaza came as Syrian state media said a separate missile attack had hit the home of an Islamic Jihad official in Damascus, killing two people including one of his sons.

Syria said Israel carried out the Damascus strike. Israel did not comment on the allegation made by Syria. As the rocket fire and Israeli air-strikes continued into the night, Gaza medical officials said 10 Palestinians had been killed, including Al-Atta and his wife.

About 25 Israelis were hurt in the Gaza rockets salvoes, some of which reached as far as Tel Aviv. The U.N.'s Middle East envoy was en route to Cairo to mediate a truce, a diplomatic source said. The Israeli Prime Minister, Mr.  Benjamin Netanyahu, said Al-Atta was a 'ticking bomb,' responsible for a string of recent cross-border rocket, drone and sniper attacks and was suspected of planning more very soon.