Security Source: Gaza Hit Was Approved Over a Week Ago

YERUSHALAYIM -
People gather around the home of Palestinian Islamic Jihad field commander Baha Abu al-Ata after it was hit by an Israeli strike in Gaza City on Tuesday. (Hassan Jedi/Flash90)

IDF forces struck in Gaza Tuesday morning, targeting two more Islamic Jihad terrorists, the IDF said. The two were Bilal al-Halidi and Ibrahim al-Daubus, and they were hit while on a motorcycle. The IDF said that the two were eliminated because they posed an “immediate threat,” on their way to carry out a terror attack.

Earlier, IDF forces eliminated the top military commander of Islamic Jihad in Gaza. The elimination of Abu al-Ata Tuesday set off a series of rocket attacks on southern and central Israel, with several homes and buildings damaged, and a number of Israelis treated for shock. Kan News reported that the strike on Abu al-Ata had been planned for more than a week and approved by the Security Cabinet.

Commander of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Hertzi Halevi, in the control room of the Southern Command during the attack early Tuesday. (IDF Spokesman)

The hit on the terrorist was notable for the fact that it was he and his wife who were killed, while others in the house where the strike occurred were injured. Images of the house show limited damage – with the terrorist’s bedroom alone targeted and damaged, with the rest of the house left standing.

After the hit was approved, the report said, the terrorist was “shadowed” by the Shin Bet, which was kept apprised of his location at all times. Kan News quoted a security source as saying that “Abu al-Ata was aware that he was a target, and for the past week and a half did not leave his house. But he made sure to surround himself with guests, especially women and children, with the knowledge that Israeli forces would not try to hit him with innocent bystanders in the vicinity.

“The window of opportunity opened Monday night as the terrorist was in the room only with his wife,” the source said. “The army took that opportunity to carry out its mission. In the photos, you see just how precise the strike was.”

Speaking Tuesday, Islamic Jihad spokesperson Khaled al-Batsh said that Israel would “pay for this murder. Israel has started an open war, and nothing will stop us from avenging the death” of Abu al-Ata. “The response will be as great as the crime that Israel has carried out.”