Netanyahu Says Deterrence Strengthened: Terrorists Know We Will Put Attackers ‘in the Crosshairs’

PM Netanyahu holds security discussion. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO).

Just days after assassinating senior Islamic Jihad commander Abu al-Ata, and despite hundreds of rockets being fired by Islamic Jihad at Israel since then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel’s action “changes the equation” vis-à-vis terrorists. “The arch-terrorists know that we can put them in the crosshairs and we will put in the crosshairs anyone who tries to attack us,” Netanyahu was quoted by his office as saying on Wednesday. “Moreover, we are not bent on escalation but we will carry out all the necessary actions that we have agreed on in order to continue defending the State of Israel and its citizens.”

Netanyahu, speaking after a meeting with the security cabinet, said the strike that killed Ata was done with “surgical precision.”

“This denies them the feeling that they can act against us, against our civilians, while hiding behind their civilians. This changes the equation because they can all be in the crosshairs,” said Netanyahu. “This is a very major change and it greatly strengthens Israel’s deterrence and its capabilities against the terrorists.”

The confidence comes as Islamic Jihad has retaliated against the killing of the terrorist Ata by launching more than 360 rockets at Israel communities from Tuesday morning until Wednesday evening, with more coming, according to the IDF Twitter feed. And it’s Israeli civilians being targeted again and again.

Netanyahu, in separate comments published by his office on Wednesday, noted the contrast with the Gaza terror groups’ approach to conflict and Israel’s. “They deliberately target civilians. That’s a war crime,” said Netanyahu to visiting senior members of AIPAC. “Now, they commit a second war crime. They not only target civilians, they hide behind civilians in civilian areas, so that they know that we, who are trying to avoid hitting civilians, will not hit them in their places of hiding. So they’re committing a double war crime.”

In response to the terror attacks, Israel has repeatedly struck terror targets. An IDF Tweet on Wednesday said they had killed 20 terrorists, the majority of which were from Islamic Jihad, since 4 am on Tuesday morning.

Netanyahu, in comments released by his office on Tuesday, following the attack that killed Ata, said the Islamic Jihad terrorist was “the main instigator of terrorism from the Gaza Strip” and was planning more attacks in the “immediate short term. He was a ticking bomb.”

Netanyahu said Ata had been behind the launching of hundreds of rockets at Israeli communities. In response to his death, Islamic Jihad has fired hundreds more. On Wednesday, Netanyahu said he hoped the current fighting would not last long, but he’s focused on the mission.

“We are in the midst of a campaign,” said Netanyahu. “We hope that it will be as short as possible. We are not bent on escalation but we will do whatever is necessary to restore the quiet and security to the residents of Israel.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, November 13, 2019)

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