Israel had said they would respond to the April 17 rocket attacks against the Israeli coastal city of Eilat, and on Tuesday they found their opportunity. Israeli aircraft took out one of those involved in the rocket fire, a terrorist the Israeli military said “manufactured, improved and traded” weapons, specializing in rockets and explosive devices.
It marks the first time that Israel has assassinated such a key terrorist in the Gaza Strip since the last major operation in the Gaza Strip back in November. Gaza rocket attacks have increased in recent months, breaching the ceasefire that ended last year’s war. The rocket fire highlights the risk of further conflict in the Middle East, which isn’t good for Israel—America’s top ally in the Middle East—or the oil market. Tuesday’s assassination is intended to boost Israel’s deterrence and to prevent future terrorist rocket attacks, similar to American strikes on al-Qaeda leaders.
A press statement from the Israeli military (IDF) said the targeted terrorist, Hithem Ziad Ibrahim Masshal, worked with multiple terror groups as part of the Global Jihad movement. Specifically he helped the Shura Council—a terror organization under Global Jihad—launch the rockets from the Egyptian Sinai at Eilat back on April 17.
The IDF said Masshal has been involved in terrorism for several years and “was involved in extensive terror activity against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers.”
While the attack on the city of Eilat originated from the Egyptian Sinai—territory owned by Egypt that has become overrun with terrorists—Israel was unable to strike there due to the peace accord with Egypt.
Tuesday’s airstrike underscores Israel’s intention not to let terrorists escape a response from the IDF. Said the IDF press statement of the targeted assassination, “This demonstrates the IDF’s conviction to prevent terror attacks against the State of Israel.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, April 30, 2013)