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June 12, 2014 11:34 am

Israel Targets Gaza Terrorist; Defense Minister Ya’alon Says ‘We Will Pursue and Lay Our Hands on Whoever Threatens Us’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

An IDF map showing how rockets from Gaza endanger half of Israel's population. Photo: IDF.

An IDF map showing how rockets from Gaza endanger half of Israel's population. Photo: IDF.

Overnight on Thursday, an Israel Air Force jet targeted terrorist Mahmed Awwar, 33, the architect of many rocket attacks against Israel over the past years and this past month. He was also planning more attacks, Israel said.

On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said, “We will not ignore the fire or the attempted attacks whose purpose is to disrupt the lives of our citizens living in the South and harm our forces.”

“We will pursue and lay our hands on whoever threatens us,” the defense minister said. “We will know how to act whenever and wherever necessary to thwart any attempts by terrorist forces in Gaza to strike Israeli citizens, as we did last night.”

In a separate statement, the IDF said the Gazan terrorist and rocket expert was employed by Hamas as a policeman.

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The IDF said: “The infrastructure Awwar was a part of carried out the rocket attack against the city of Sderot and the communities in southern Israel during the Passover holiday on April 21, 2014.”

“This terror infrastructure is a violent and extremist Salafi cell which has carried out several rocket attacks and has attempted to implement diverse terror attacks against Israel as well as attempts to target a helicopter,” the IDF said. “The preemptive strike was intended to prevent Awwar from executing further attacks he had planned against Israel.”

IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said: “Since January, over 200 rockets were launched from Gaza at Israel, indicating a significant increase compared with the previous year, during which over 100 rockets were launched. This operation, conducted following intense efforts and precise preparations, is a part of the ongoing IDF efforts aimed to diminish terror elements in the strip, and maintain security for the civilians of the State of Israel.”

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