Bombings Across the Gaza and Israel Region


A car burns nearby a factory in the Israeli town Sderot, after the backlash from the Islamic Jihad sending missiles into Israeli territory.

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) fired a planned rocket in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Nov. 12, targeting and killing Palestinian militant leader Bahaa Abu Al-Ata. The missile strike at Al-Ata’s home occurred around 4 a.m that morning. In the process, the commander’s wife, his son Asmaa Abu Al-Atta, and four others were also killed. 


The Israeli military presumed the militant leader responsible for previous bombings, one of which happened less than two weeks prior, on Nov. 1. The militant leader was also presumed responsible for other bombings in August. In response, the Israel Defense Force closely monitored Bahaa Abu Al-Ata for many weeks leading up to the attack. 


Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that the operation was created and approved 10 days prior. Netanyahu, along with Israeli’s military and intelligence leaders, constructed the plan to execute the attack when Bahaa Abu Al-Ata would be most vulnerable. Additionally, the leaders took further planning to prevent the unnecessary deaths of local civilians and minimize any damage to nearby infrastructure. 

A missile rocket being set off from the Gaza Strip in retaliation to Israeli bombings. Credit: Associated Press.

“Over the past year, [Bahaa Abu Al-Ata] was the main instigator of terrorism from the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said during a press release. “He initiated, planned and carried out many terrorist attacks.” 


Netanyahu added that the Gaza commander was theorized to be an integral part of the Islamic Jihad’s violent activities in the nearby region. According to the US and Israeli government, Islamic Jihad is labeled as a Palestinian-Islamic terrorist organization. The radical group is based in Syria’s capital, Damascus. However, the early morning attack did not end the day’s conflicts. 


Organizers of the Islamic Jihad denounced the attack as “a declaration of war against the Palestinian people” and said, “Our response to this crime will have no limits.”


Palestinian forces retaliated by firing missiles into the southern and central regions of Israel roughly 2 hours later. Israel’s anti-missile defense system, Iron Dome, activated to deactivate primarily threatening missiles. Throughout the day, over 200 missiles were fired into the borders. Iron Dome only managed to counter and deactivate a few dozen rocket strikes. 


The IDF sent nation-wide recommendations to stay indoors or close to bomb-shelters. Tens of thousands of citizens living in the urban Tel-Aviv areas evacuated to local bomb-shelters amidst the crisis. Air-raid sirens blared all throughout the Israeli communities which resided near the Gaza Strip, including major southern cities such as Ashdod and Ashkelon. In addition to the warnings, public events, railroad systems, and local schools were closed on Tuesday. 


Throughout the attack, Israel remained primarily on the defensive and did not counter-attack for a few hours. Health officials reported that the Palestinian attack resulted in 10 dead and many suffering minor injuries, though the number of casualties and injuries were not as drastic as predicted.


“We are prepared for several days of battle, with an aerial defense shield, including in the center of the country,” IDF spokesman Judah Ari Gross said.

On Nov. 15, an Israeli bomb hits a small town located in the southern region of the Gaza Strip. Credit: VCG Photo.

Later that day, at 11 am, Israel broke from their defensive strategy. Rocket strikes were directed towards two Islamic Jihad targets, which were planned beforehand. These targets became broadly spread throughout Palestinian residencies. Civil unrest arose on social media, taking place on Twitter. As #JiHadEnough trended during this time, civilians used the platform to express their opposition to the violence.


Although the attacks have died down, cultural and religious grudges between the two peoples have hindered peace negotiations thus far. Without a permanent solution respected by both sides, the temporary stalemate in the Gaza-Israel border will likely result in further bloodshed in the future.