Islamic Jihad Claims Israel Assassinated Operative in Damascus

Syrian security officers inspect the damage in a residential neighborhood after an early morning Israeli airstrike in the capital city of Damascus, Syria, Feb. 19. (AP Photo/Omar Sanadiki)

A Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative, Ali Ramzi al-Aswad, 31, was killed Sunday morning in Damascus in a hit the terror organization believes was carried out by Israel. “It bears the markings of the Israeli occupation,” they said.

Al-Quds Brigade, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, said al-Aswad, who was considered to be a senior member of PIJ in the outskirts of Damascus, was a refugee whose family was banished from Haifa by Israel in 1948 and eventually settled in the Syrian capital. He himself joined the Al-Quds Brigade when he was young.

PIJ showed no hesitation in laying the blame for his death on Israel and vowed retaliation. “While we mourn the martyr and hero, who was killed by agents of the Zionist enemy, we will continue confronting the enemy and all its crimes. Al-Quds Brigade will continue the struggle on all arenas, protecting Palestine and al-Asqsa Mosque.”

Referring to frequent IDF raids into Palestinian enclaves in Yehudah and Shomron, they said: “We will not be deterred by the amount of victims and the lives sacrificed by our bravest sons.”

In 2019 Israeli warplanes fired missiles at the home of Akram al-Ajouri, a member of Islamic Jihad’s leadership living in exile. Ajouri was not harmed, but his son was reportedly killed in the attack.

Last month, airstrikes on residential areas in Damascus that Syrian officials said killed at least five people were attributed to Israel. An Islamic Jihad official warned Israel in a statement that there would be “a decisive response without delay to any assassination attempt [on] the leaders of the resistance.”

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, including attacks on the Damascus and Aleppo airports, but it rarely acknowledges or discusses the operations.

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