Palestinian militant group: commander assassinated in Syria

DAMASCUS (AP) — A commander in the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad was killed in Syria on Sunday in what it described as an assassination by Israeli agents.

The Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad group, said in a statement that Ali Ramzi al-Aswad, 31, was killed Sunday morning in the Damascus countryside in a “cowardly assassination with bullets bearing the fingerprints of the Zionist enemy,” referring to Israel.

There was no immediate statement from Israel on Sunday’s alleged assassination.

The Islamic Jihad said in a statement Aswad’s family had been displaced from the city of Haifa in 1948 and settled in the refugee camps in Syria, where he joined the organization as a young man.

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.