Netanyahu on killing of terror chief: ‘He who strikes at us, we will strike at him’

The premier says that Israel again proved its ability to extend its “long arm” and carry out “precision” attacks wherever necessary.

By World Israel News Staff 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu Al Ata, killed by Israel in a targeted air strike in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday morning, was a central terror figure, responsible for the launching of  “hundreds of rockets” into Israel, and a “ticking time-bomb” whose current plans to attack again made it necessary for Israel to kill him first.

“He who strikes at us, we will strike at him,” Netanyahu vowed, at a joint appearance with the IDF chief of staff and Shin Bet security agency chief.

The premier said that the Israeli defense establishment had again proved its ability to extend its “long arm” and carry out “precision” attacks wherever necessary.

He said that the decision to kill the Islamic Jihad terror mastermind had been approved unanimously by the Israeli Security Cabinet.

The IDF and Shin Bet set the right time, said the prime minister, at which point “I took their joint recommendation and approved the operation.”

The ongoing battle against terror, said Netanyahu, would require time and perseverance, and he called on the Israeli public to adhere to the orders of the IDF Home Front Command regarding future rocket attacks from Gaza.

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IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi told the media briefing, aired live on Israeli TV and radio, that the military is “not interested in an escalation but is prepared for an escalation.”

Kochavi referred to Abu Al Ata as a “senior commander”  responsible for “most of the attacks,” including recent air barrages on Israel.

The Islamic Jihad commander “destabilized Israeli security” and “was currently planning additional attacks,” which gave him the classification of a “ticking timebomb,” said the Israeli army chief.

Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman said that the strike against Abu Al Ata had taken place at just the right time, an apparent reference to an earlier Israeli media report that the Islamic Jihad terror leader had purposely been surrounding himself with many civilians to exploit Israel’s hesitancy to strike at civilian targets, but that Israeli intelligence had gained information that he would be virtually alone early Tuesday, and therefore it was determined that it was the time to strike.