IAF airstrike Gaza_311 reuters.
(photo credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters)
Israel’s response to the terror attacks from Sinai Peninsula came
swiftly Thursday evening when the Israel Air Force bombed the southern
Gaza Strip, killing the leadership of the Popular Resistance Committees
who had orchestrated the attacks.
At least seven Israelis, including a soldier from the Golani Brigade,
were killed earlier in the day in a multistage attack in the South
carried out by PRC members who infiltrated from Egypt.
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The PRC members killed in the retaliatory IAF air strike included the head of the terror group Kamal Nirab, who the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said had personally directed and planned the attack.
Another man killed in the strike was identified as Amas Hamed, commander of the PRC’s military wing and a resident of Rafah. The Shin Bet said that Hamed was involved in the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit in June 2006 and oversaw numerous attacks against Israel including suicide bombings and rocket attacks.
Two other known PRC terrorists, including one who was also involved in Schalit’s abduction, were also killed in the air strike.
“The terrorists were directly involved in the attacks along the Israeli-Egyptian border,” a security official said.
In response to Thursday’s attacks, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
said, “We all witnessed today an attempt to escalate the terrorist war
against Israel by launching of attacks from the Sinai. If there is
someone who thinks that the State of Israel will let this pass, he is
He continued: “I have set out a principle – when the citizens of Israel
are attacked, we respond immediately and with strength. That principle
was implemented today.
Those who gave the order to murder our citizens, while hiding in Gaza, are no longer among the living.”
Netanyahu commended the IDF and security services for their swift
retaliation against the senior terrorist officials in Gaza, thereby
preventing an even greater tragedy.
“If the terrorist organizations believe that they can attack our
citizens and get away with it, they will soon learn how wrong they are.
We will exact a price, a very heavy price,” he said.
Netanyahu was expected to convene a meeting of the septet late Thursday night.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the IDF would escalate its
response to the attacks. Egypt had lost its grip over Sinai Peninsula
and terrorist organizations were able to move around there freely, he
“The IDF has already struck the heads of the PRC in Gaza and if there
will be a need, the strikes will intensify,” Barak said. “The IDF will
use all of the force necessary to protect Israel’s citizens and to
enable a normal way of life in the country.”
On Thursday night, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit south of
Ashkelon. Defense officials ordered security officers in communities
along the border with Gaza to prepare for an escalation in rocket fire.
The Iron Dome counter- rocket system later intercepted a Grad-model
Katyusha rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at Ashkelon.
PRC spokesman Abu Mujahed said in a statement that Israel would be held
responsible for “all the consequences of its crimes,” according to the
Ma'an news agency.