Early Tuesday morning the IDF assassinated Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata, a step Avigdor Liberman says should have been taken earlier.
By World Israel News Staff
Last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prevented the assassination of Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata, claimed former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman in an interview with Israel’s Walla! news site.
“A year ago, Netanyahu resisted his targeted killing and sat back. I thought even a year ago that his time had come, but the prime minister forcibly prevented it,” he said.
Early Tuesday morning the IDF bombed Bahaa Abu al-Ata’s house in the eastern part of Gaza City. The bombing killed the terrorist leader.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced today that the decision to kill al-Ata was made on Sunday by the cabinet.
“Senior Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu Al Ata was targeted overnight in Gaza. He was responsible for many terrorist attacks and the firing of rockets at Israel in recent months and had intended to carry out imminent attacks,” he said.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziad al Nakhaleh, based in Lebanon, said in response to the assassination: “We are going to war.”
Since 9 a.m. Tuesday, close to 200 rockets had been launched at southern and central Israel. Only 60 of those rockets were reportedly intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, reports the Israeli army.
IDF fighter jets and aircraft have retaliated by striking a number of terror targets associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Among the sites were a training compound and underground weapons manufacturing and storage sites. In one successful effort to eliminate an immediate threat, the Israeli Air Force struck two Islamic Jihad terrorists as they were about to launch rockets into Israel.
The IDF said it views the “continued rocket fire from the Gaza Strip at Israel and its civilians severely and is prepared to continue defending Israeli civilians, and to operate as necessary.”