Israel Eliminates Senior Gaza Terror Leaders in 'Operation Shield and Arrow'
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JERUSALEM, Israel – Three senior terrorist leaders were killed in the Gaza Strip overnight as Israel carried out reprisals for daytime rocket attacks last week that injured three foreign workers and sent Israeli citizens scurrying for shelters when their children were coming home from school.
In a raid called "Operation Shield and Arrow," the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Shin Bet, Israel's security agency, targeted 3 top operatives for Islamic Jihad: Khalil Bahitini, 44, commander of the group's Northern Gaza (al Quds) Division, who coordinated the rocket attacks; Tareq Izzeldeen, 49, a spokesperson who devised plans to carry out terrorist attacks on Israelis in Judea and Samaria; and Jehad Ghanam, 62, who coordinated money flow and weapons transfers with Hamas, the terror group which controls the Gaza Strip.
According to Palestinian sources, 12 Palestinians were killed and 20 injured in the strikes, carried out by 40 aircraft very early Tuesday morining in cities throughout the Gaza Strip. Palestinian Islamic Jihad confirmed the deaths of their leaders along with some of the wives and children. The IDF also struck at least 6 military compounds and command posts.
Israel's Home Front Command said the operation has just begun and classes were canceled through Wednesday night for residents within a 25-mile radius of the Gaza Strip. The authorities urged people living there to remain in shelters. Also, air traffic in and out of Ben Gurion Airport will switch to alternate routes.
Concerning the millitary strike, IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said, "This is about professionalism in planning and precision in execution that led to this operational achievement. This is planning with tweezers – in the heart of a civilian population – a targeted assassination in a multi-story building in a dense area, seconds between the impact, a very narrow time window, and at 2 a.m., all the buildings are attacked and the three operatives are killed."
Also, another IDF Spokesman, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, tweeted, "We operated in a very precise manner, only focusing on the Islamic Jihad 'kingpin' terrorists. They played a dramatic role executing and directing their vile activity against innocent civilians. We achieved what we focused on and are ready to keep defending Israel."
Hamas vowed that Israel will "pay the price" for the killings. The group's leader, Ismail Haniyeh, warned in a statement, “Assassinating the leaders with a treacherous operation will not bring security to the occupier, but rather more resistance."
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