Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a press conference at the Kirya Military Headquarters in Tel Aviv late Tuesday morning to address the barrage of rockets fired into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip following an Israeli strike which killed Baha Abu al-Ata, a senior commander in the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror militia early Tuesday morning. “Terrorists think they can hit civilians and hide behind civilians,” the prime minister said. “We showed that we can hit the terrorist with minimal damage to civilians. Anyone who thinks they can hit our civilians and get away with it is wrong. If you hit us we will hit you.”
IDF Chief of the General Staff Lt. General Aviv Kochavi said during his own remarks that al-Ata had undermined efforts to reach a long-term cease-fire agreement with Hamas, adding that “in recent days he was working to perpetrate attacks against Israel. We tried to thwart his efforts in different ways without success and we then recommended a targeted killing. We are not interested in an escalation but we are ready – on the ground, in the air and at sea.”
The press conference followed a difficult morning which saw dozens of rockets fired into Israel, including a handful of strikes on Tel Aviv. Most of the incoming rockets were shot down by the Iron Dome air defense system but a few landed in populated areas. One strike on a busy highway intersection south of Tel Aviv was caught on camera and widely circulated on social media, although it caused no injuries or damage.
“We stand behind the security forces, who have been working for the success of this morning’s operations for a long time,” said President Reuven Rivlin in a statement. “I know that they, and the Israeli government that approved the operation, have Israel’s security, and only that, in their minds. This is no time for political squabbles, and those who do so bring no credit to themselves. It is the time to stop such statements immediately. Israeli citizens – please listen to the life-saving instructions of the IDF Home Front Command and take good care of yourselves.”
Nevertheless, thousands of Israelis all over the country stayed home and/or kept their children home as many schools, businesses, government offices and other public places were closed until further notice. Several injuries were reported, mostly from people hurting themselves while running for shelter in response to incoming rocket alerts.
Here is a video about the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror militia
This article originally appeared on ICEJ’s website and reposted with permission