Rockets rain from Gaza as Israel kills Palestinian Militant Group Chief

Rockets rain from Gaza as Israel kills Palestinian Militant Group Chief

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.

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 told Reuters.Israeli Prime Minister 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. 

"Israel is not interested in escalation, but we will do everything required to defend ourselves," said Netanyahu, who oversaw Israel's last Gaza war in 2014

"This could take time." At Al-Atta's funeral in Gaza, mourners fired guns into the air chanting "revenge!" as Islamic Jihad leader Khaled Al-Batsh said: "Israel executed two coordinated attacks, in Syria and in Gaza, in a declaration of war." However, financial market reaction was muted, anticipating no major escalation

Recent such rounds of violence have ended with the help of Egyptian and UN mediation."The United Nations has been involved throughout the day to de-escalate," a diplomatic source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza, joined Islamic Jihad in condemning Israel

Though both are sworn to the destruction of Israel, they have not always been in lockstep on strategy