Israel targeted a terrorist in Gaza Wednesday morning, the second time this week it took out a high-ranking member of the Palestine-based Islamic Jihad group.
The IDF confirmed the death of Ahmad Zaanin, 21, who was reportedly responsible for firing the rockets into Israel last week that targeted the funeral for past Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
A passenger, Mohammed al Zaanim, was in the car Ahmad Zaanin was driving when he was targeted, and was also killed.
“We have a very clear policy. We prevent terror attacks when we identify them in the making, and we respond forcefully against whoever hurts us,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said early today.
“This policy produced a quiet year in 2013, which was the quietest in many years. If Hamas and the terror organizations have forgotten this lesson, they will learn it again powerfully very soon.”
Hamas, the terror group that governs Gaza, has no affiliation with Islamic Jihad, which is considered an outlying militant group. Still, the Jewish state holds Hamas responsible for controlling militants in its region as part of a ceasefire agreed to in November 2012, after Operation Pillar of Defense.
“Amongst [Zaanin’s] most recent attack was launching of rockets during the former Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon’s funeral,” the IDF said in a statement. “Since 2009 Zaanin, with the cooperation of other terror bodies in the Gaza Strip, has endorsed numerous attacks such as sniping attacks and detonating explosive devices against IDF soldiers.”
“In his earlier days Zaanin was affiliated with the Islamic Palestinian Jihad, during which the terrorist operated towards the execution of terror attacks, most of which were rocket attacks, against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers.”
Today’s strike came just days after the Israeli Air Force carried out an operation on Ahmed Saad, an Islamic Jihad member responsible for much of the long-range firing on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Pillar of Defense.
“His blood was not spilled in vain. He death will follow the occupier wherever it goes,” the al-Quds Brigade, the military arm of Islamic Jihad, wrote on its website. “[Islamic Jihad] is committed to the way of resistance until all of the Palestinian land will be free.”