The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Fatah’s military wing, called on all its active cells to declare a retaliatory alert following the Israel Air Force strike on northern Gaza Tuesday, which targeted al-Aqsa operatives but killed three Palestinian children.
“We call on all our fighters to act and hit the enemy so that it hurts, in every place, so that it knows that the blood of our martyrs is dear. We declare war on Sderot and on all the Zionist settlements. The Zionists won’t have peace on our land,” an announcement stated.
“We call on all the Palestinian organizations to accelerate activities against the occupier,” the statement said.
'We'll respond to enemy's crimes'
Abu Ahmad, an al-Aqsa commander, told Ynet that his organization was determined to continue firing Qassams towards Sderot and was completing preparations for an inclusive attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip using rockets, inside the West Bank and suicide bombings in Israel.
Abu Ahmad said members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and other Palestinian organizations would make every effort to set all of occupied Palestine aflame.
“God willing we will cause the Zionists to feel what the Ghalia family and the other Palestinian families felt in the last few days. No directive to stop firing rockets or stop attacks will convince us before we respond to the enemy’s crimes,” Ahmad said.
He denied reports that his organization was working to smuggle suicide bombers into Israel through Sinai, saying this was “Israeli propaganda meant to justify its assassination attempt.”
Botched air strike
Three children – six-year-old Muhammad Roka, his five-year-old sister Nida and 16-year-old Bilal al-Hizi – were killed in the botched air strike in Jebaliya in northern Gaza. Another 15 people were wounded.
Injured evacuated from scene of attack (Photo: AFP)
Khalil Roka, the victims’ uncle, told AP that Muhammad was playing in his front yard when he was hit. The IDF said it regrets the deaths of innocent civilians not involved in terrorism, and added that “the responsibility is with the terror organizations and the Hamas government.”
The Air Force began investigating the failed assassination attempt. A senior IDF officer explained to Ynet that “an initial probe shows that when the missiles were fired, no civilians were identified in the vicinity of the vehicle, and even when the missiles were en route to the target no crowd of people was seen.”
He explained that the location chosen to target the car was not full of people. The two rockets, fired in one salvo, hit the car precisely. “We still don’t know if the civilians were killed by the car exploding or for other reasons.”
Imad Hamad targeted
IDF officials stated that the targeted operative was Imad Hamad, 36, a senior member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, who planned to infiltrate terrorists from Sinai into Israel. Military sources said Hamad had planned numerous terror attacks against Israel and was involved in financing and organizing the infrastructure behind the firing of Qassams.
Fatah’s military wing confirmed that one of its senior members escaped the hit Tuesday night unharmed. Hamad, an Intelligence and Investigations officer for the Palestinian police, underwent extensive training in the security field, and became involved in terrorism in the early 1990s, when he served as a Fatah commander in northern Gaza. In this position he recruited and trained many fighting cells.
In the end of 2002, Hamad became active with the Popular Resistance Committees and served as an intelligence officer and liaison for Jamal Abu Samhadana, who was also targeted by Israel recently.
Wrecked car (Photo: Reuters)
In this position he set up a network of contacts with Hizbullah in Lebanon as well as with terror operatives in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. In mid 2004 Hamad returned to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and established himself as a central liaison between Hizbullah and the territories. He advanced terrorist plots including the kidnapping of Israeli citizens to use as bargaining chips and collecting information on Israeli soldiers and citizens.
On the eve of last Passover, April 12, 2006, Hamad was behind the dispatching of two terrorists who were killed on the way to carrying out a suicide bomb attack at an IDF base by the security fence. Hamad was also behind smuggling massive quantities of weapons into Gaza. In the past few weeks he planned a large-scale terror attack on the Karni crossing, as well as infiltrating suicide bombers through Sinai into Israel.
Efrat Weiss contributed to the report