Palestinian terrorist factions are preparing for a coordinated response to Israel’s elimination on Tuesday of three senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad officials in the Gaza Strip, according to a report on Wednesday in Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah al-Akhbar newspaper.
Sources in Hamas told the daily that “the leadership of the resistance has put all options on the table” and affirmed that “the response will be unified through the joining military of the resistance factions, and it will teach the occupation a great lesson, and the responses will not be limited to a specific faction or a specific front, but rather all fronts are nominated to participate in the response.”
Hamas political bureau head Ismail Haniyeh and PIJ spokesperson Daoud Shehab were also quoted as saying that “the response will be unified.”
Israel was preparing for rocket attacks on Tuesday night, taking measures during the day to protect citizens living in the Gaza region from an anticipated barrage of projectiles. However, according to the Israel Defense Forces no rocket fire came from Gaza overnight, although the army said that restrictions would remain in place for residents close to the Palestinian coastal enclave.
“We did not see a rocket fired at Israel, this is a consequence of the IDF’s surprise action against Islamic Jihad,” IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told Army Radio.
“Anything else can happen today. We will assess the situation on whether to ease the instructions for the residents,” he added.
The IDF spokesman also confirmed that on Tuesday night an IDF aircraft attacked a PIJ anti-tank unit in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. According to Palestinian reports, the strike killed the unit’s commander, Khaled al-Farrad. Two others were reported killed in the Israeli strike, which hit the vehicle the terrorists were traveling in on their way to launch missiles.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a televised speech on Tuesday night, saying that he authorized the targeted assassinations of the three PIJ terrorist leaders after more than 100 rockets were fired at Israel last week.
Netanyahu also said that 10 PIJ weapons facilities in Gaza were targeted. A total of 13 people were killed in the Israeli strikes, part of what the Israeli military has dubbed “Operation Shield and Arrow.”
The targeted strikes “became possible after our intelligence agencies provided precise intelligence that allowed us to reach these mass murderers before they could launch additional terrorist attacks,” added Netanyahu.
“As always, Israel tried to minimize civilian casualties, and the State of Israel regrets any harm caused to non-combatants. The difference between Israel and our enemies is that we make every effort to keep the enemies’ civilian population out of harm’s way, while our enemies make every effort to deliberately target our civilians. We mourn the loss of innocent lives; They celebrate the loss of innocent life,” he said.
“Israel’s policy is clear: Those who seek to harm Israel will be harmed. Those who kill our citizens will pay a heavy price. And those who fire on our cities and civilians will be held responsible for their actions,” he continued.
“It may take time, but Israel will ultimately reach these terrorists. No one should doubt Israel’s resolve to defend its citizens. If that is not clear today, it will become even clearer in the future. Israel will do whatever it has to do to protect our state and to protect our people. Israel’s policy is clear and our message to the terrorists is also clear: You can run. You can hide. But in the end, Israel will get you.”