Israel preparing Gaza border for anniversary of terror leader’s death

Islamic Jihad terror group to mark the anniversary of the death of one of its leaders; IDF deploys extra Iron Dome battery on Gaza border.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Israel is preparing for the possibility that the Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza will carry out attacks to mark the first anniversary of the assassination of one of its senior leaders, Channel 12 reported Wednesday.

Last November 12, the IDF killed notorious Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu Al Ata with a targeted rocket strike, sparking a barrage of over 150 rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities. There have been sporadic incidents since then, but in anticipation of possible revenge attacks on the anniversary, the IDF deployed an additional Iron Dome anti-missile defense battery in the area, the report said.

Israel defense officials are concerned that terrorist elements in the Gaza Strip will try to carry out an act of revenge including the possibility of rocket fire into the south of the country and even reaching the Tel Aviv region, leading to Ben Gurion Airport flight routes being changed.

Al Ata was the commander of the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad‘s forces in the Gaza Strip and was in charge of the terrorists on the ground and is known to have received direct instructions from the Iranian leadership.

Although a Sunni organization, Palestinian Islamic Jihad is inspired by the Shi’ite revolution in Iran. According to the organization, the Iranian revolution proved that “Islam was the solution and Jihad was the proper means.” Iran is a major funder of the organization.

The most serious incident since the Al Ata killing came in February when the terror group fired more than 80 rockets at Israel after IDF soldiers killed an Islamic Jihad terrorist who was planting a bomb on the border fence.

Although subservient to the Hamas terror group that has controlled Gaza with an iron-fist since it seized power in a bloody 2007 military coup, the Islamic Jihad has made inroads in Judea and Samaria – trying to gain recruits and challenge both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas.