IDF Nabs Senior Islamic Jihad Operative in Overnight Raid
IDF troops detained 13 Palestinians, including a senior Islamic Jihad operative, overnight between Sunday and Monday in operations around Judea and Samaria. Tariq Qa’adan, a resident of the Palestinian town of Arabeh and a commander of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in northern Samaria, was among the detainees and charged with membership in a terror group.
The operation came on the heels of an Arabic-language warning over the weekend by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai to Islamist groups in Gaza not to try to avenge Israel’s October 30 demolition of a cross-border tunnel near the Palestinian city of Khan Younis and the Israeli border community of Kissufim. At least 12 Palestinians were killed in the demolition.
But Islamic Jihad has declared the tunnel operation a “declaration of war” by Israel and reaffirmed on Sunday it’s “right” to retaliate, to which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded that terror groups seeking to harm Israeli soldiers or civilians will pay a stiff price.
“These days, there are still those who toy with trying renewed attacks on Israel,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. “We will take a very strong hand against anyone who tries to attack us or attacks us from any sector.”
According to Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, former head of Israel’s military intelligence and now the director of the Tel Aviv University-affiliated Institute for National Security Studies, the warnings to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in recent days were not incidental, but rather the result of concrete intelligence that the terror group is planning to respond to the destruction of the tunnel into Israel.
“It was smart to warn Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders of the heavy price [they would pay] for another round of fighting in Gaza,” he wrote on Twitter. “It seems Israel learned the lessons of Operation Protective Edge, and this time it will focus on hitting the heads of the organizations.”
Yadlin also underlined the importance of preventing a revenge attack in order not to escalate to a renewed conflict in Gaza. “Although activities on one front have an impact on others, Israel should focus on the northern front. (But) as part of its planning for all activities, in both north and south, Israel should design diplomatic and military methods for controlling escalation and mechanism to an end the conflicts,” Yadlin added.