Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza and Lebanon have stepped up their security levels in recent days over fears of an impending Israeli strike, according to Arabic media reports.
The leadership of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad reportedly fear a harsh Israeli response, including targeted assassinations, to a series of deadly attacks against civilians in Judea and Samaria in recent weeks.
Sources in the “Palestinian resistance” told London-based pan-Arab news site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on Wednesday that terror leaders in Gaza, Lebanon and elsewhere have taken “unprecedented” security measures and “take seriously the Israeli threats.”
“Resistance” sources also told the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar on Wednesday that terror groups fear that Israel could target terror group’s leadership in a brief, one or two day operation, similar to May’s “Operation Shield and Arrow.”
One source however said that the reaction to any such assassination “will be greater than the expectation of the occupation, which will be surprised by its method and size,” and that “such a step may lead to a major escalation that will affect the various fronts on which the resistance can work.”
The Israeli Security Cabinet on Tuesday decided to take the fight directly to Palestinian terrorists amid the ongoing wave of deadly attacks.
“The Security Cabinet made a series of decisions to target terrorists and those who dispatch them and authorized the prime and defense ministers to act on the matter,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
“The forum supports the commanders and soldiers of the IDF and security services in their activities against the terrorist elements,” it added.
The meeting, originally scheduled for Sept. 10, was brought forward after Batsheva Nigri, a 42-year-old mother of three, was gunned down by terrorists in a drive-by shooting near Hebron. Her 12-year-old daughter, who was sitting beside her, was unhurt.
Another individual, identified as Aryeh Gottlieb, was seriously wounded in the attack. Gottlieb is being treated at Beersheva’s Soroka Medical Center, where his condition has been stabilized.
On Saturday, a Palestinian terrorist shot and killed two Israelis in Huwara, located just outside Nablus (Shechem) in Samaria. Ashdod residents Silas Nigrekar, 60, and his son, Aviad Nir, 28, were shot at point-blank range at a car wash in the Palestinian village.