VIDEO - The Air Force has killed the Palestinian Authority's Interior Ministry General Supervisor, Jamal Abu Samhadana, who ruled over one of the most powerful terrorist organizations in Gaza.
At least three other people were killed and seven others were wounded in the attack. Abu Samhadana was considered to be one of the most wanted individuals by Israel.
He survived at least four previous assassination attempts and was wanted from the time of the first intifada.
At around 11:30 p.m. an Air Force craft attacked a training camp of the Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committee, in the Rafah area.
The IDF confirmed that it carried out an aerial attack.
According to the IDF, the camp was at the time being used to train terrorists for a wide-scale attack, including training to cross the electronic border fence, the placing of explosives, and an attempt to attack one of the Israeli communities near Gaza.
Abu Samhadana belonged to the largest clan in southern Gaza. The Popular Resistance Committee supported Hamas in the PA general elections.
|Moments after assassination (Video: Reuters)|
Since the withdrawal of IDF forces from Gaza, the Air Force has been increasingly used to carry out attacks against terror cells, and the IDF has struck a number of training camps used at the time by terrorists, despite most of the bases being hidden.
'This crime will not pass without a response'
Palestinian Information Minister Yusef al-Rizka told the al-Jazeera Arab news network after the attack that "(Defense Minister) Amir Peretz is proving that he is a criminal no less than (Shaul) Mofaz."
"This Israeli crime is a result of the silence and the European and American approval for the enemy to continue his aggression against the Palestinian people. This, alongside the siege they are holding against the Palestinian people," said al-Rizka.
Senior Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batsh said in response to the killing that “this crime will not pass without a response from the Palestinian resistance organizations.”
“The Israeli act is the answer to all those who want to hold a national referendum, because the Israeli occupation doesn’t distinguish between Palestinians and kills us despite all our efforts,” he added.
A spokesperson for Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhari, said that the army’s strike in Rafah requires the reexamination of Palestinian policies towards Israel.
“Our people will continue to stick to our right to defend ourselves in any way possible. Resistance organizations reserve the right to respond to this crime,” he said.
'There will be no immunity for any terrorist'
Abu Samhadana's organization carried out a large number of attacks against IDF soldiers and settlers in Gaza. Among others, members of the organization killed soldiers by blowing up a Merkava tank, and in another attack, soldiers were killed in an armored vehicle.
The organization also took part in attacks through tunnels packed with explosives.
Members of the organization are thought to be the main suspects by Israel and the Americans in the murder of US security personnel during a bombing of their convoy at the Erez crossing.
Members of the Committee openly took part in the elections alongside Hamas members.
Peretz said Thursday afternoon that "there will be no immunity for any terrorist from any organization." Peretz heard from defense sources that once again, Hamas members were involved in Qassam rocket attacks on Israel on Thursday, and ordered for specific activities to continue.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to this story