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November 12, 2019 10:58 am

Israeli PM Netanyahu Says Assassinated Islamic Jihad Commander Was a ‘Ticking Bomb’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen.Aviv Kochavi arrive to deliver a joint statement in Tel Aviv, Nov. 12, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Corinna Kern.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the media on Monday following the assassination of a top Islamic Jihad terrorist in the Gaza Strip, which prompted a wave of rocket attacks from the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave throughout the day, with warning sirens sounding as far north as Tel Aviv.

“The IDF thwarted the senior commander of [Islamic] Jihad in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said, referring to Baha Abu al-Ata. “He was in the midst of planning further attacks just in the last few days — he was a ticking bomb.”

“The counter-terrorism action was recommended by the chief of staff, the Shin Bet and the heads of the defense establishment,” the prime minister continued. “It was discussed by the cabinet in a series of in-depth deliberations in recent months and unanimously approved 10 days ago.”

“The IDF and the Shin Bet … identified a unique window of opportunity to carry out the action with maximum success and minimum harm to civilians,” he explained. “Therefore, I decided to accept their recommendation and approved the action.”

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Netanyahu congratulated all the security forces involved in the operation, saying, “Anyone who thinks they can hurt civilians and avoid our long arm is wrong. We have proven that we can attack with surgical precision anywhere — whoever attacks us is attacked by us.”

The prime minister also addressed the citizens of Israel, saying, “I ask you to strictly obey the Home Front Command’s instructions. Don’t take unnecessary risks. All you have to do is follow these instructions. This is important for the safety of each of you and your families.”

Mentioning the possibility of an extended military operation, Netanyahu said, “I say in advance — this could take time. It requires patience and calm. The IDF needs to be allowed to do its job.”

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