Islamic Jihad fears assassinations
Photo: AP
IDF response to be firm but measured?
Photo: AP

Islamic Jihad commanders go into hiding

Islamic Jihad urges all its commanders to go into hiding for fear of Israeli assassinations; IDF response to terror surge expected to be measured, as army wishes to avoid further escalation. Air Force strikes Gaza targets early Thursday

Terrorists fear reprisals: The Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza ordered all its commanders to go into hiding for the next few days at least, for fear that the IDF will aim to assassinate group leaders.


The move reinforces the IDF estimate that Islamic Jihad was behind the bombing in Jerusalem Wednesday that left one woman dead and dozens wounded. While the terror organization did not claim responsibility for the bombing, a group spokesman lauded the attack and said it was a "natural response to the enemy's crimes."


Earlier this week, the group threatened "unprecedented retaliation" after several terrorists and civilians were killed in IDF strikes Tuesday.


Meanwhile, top Israeli officials reportedly decided to offer a firm yet measured response to the recent terror wave, in the aims of avoiding escalation.


The IDF resumed its strikes across the Gaza Strip early Thursday. Palestinian sources reported that the Air Force targeted two training camps near Gaza City and a smuggling tunnel near the Rafah border around 2 am. There were no initial reports of injuries.


The IDF confirmed that it carried out the assaults and said the intended targets were accurately hit.


Students in south to stay home

Following discussions headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late Wednesday, where top IDF commanders presented their positions, officials decided on moves that will aim to deter Palestinian terror groups from firing rockets and mortars on southern communities. The Israeli operations will not necessarily be carried out immediately, but rather, when the IDF identifies operational opportunities to act.


At this time, Israel's defense establishment reportedly wishes to prevent further escalation in Gaza and elsewhere. The decisions on Israel's response had been taken following a day of terror in Israel that included, in addition to the Jerusalem attack, the firing of rockets at Beersheba and mortar attacks on the south of the country that included the use of phosphorous, banned by international law.


Following the escalation in Israel's south, officials in the southern cities of Beersheba and Ashdod decided to keep schools closed Thursday. Tuesday evening, a rocket was fired at Ashdod – Israel's 5th largest city – for the first time since Operation Cast Lead more than two years ago.


While students in the southern town of Ashkelon are supposed to attend classes, the Parents' Committee there urged local residents to keep their children at home for fear of rocket attacks.


Elior Levy and AFP contributed to the story



פרסום ראשון: 03.24.11, 00:22
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