Israeli Air Force missiles struck and killed a wanted Islamic Jihad terrorist and seriously wounded another as they were riding on a motorcycle in southern Gaza Tuesday afternoon. The IDF said that 25-year-old Mohammed An-Najjar was planning to carry out a major attack in "the heart of Israel."
Indicating the increasing presence of terrorist groups competing with Hamas, the burial of two other terrorists without any pomp or ceremony raised speculation that they may have been members of Al-Qaeda. They were eliminated two days ago while trying to plant roadside bombs at the security fence where Israeli soldiers patrol.
The missile strike on the motorcycle targeted Najjar, who has been on Israel’s wanted list for more than two years, and the operation was not a retaliatory strike for Monday’s three rocket attacks on the port city of Ashkelon.
Hamas reiterated a call on Tuesday to other terrorist groups to reduce the escalation of attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, saying it does not want to give Israel an “excuse” to launch another massive counterterrorist campaign.
The three-week Operation Cast Lead operation ended two years ago and drastically reduced the number of rocket and mortar attacks on Israel. Nevertheless, the attacks have continued on a smaller scale and continue to threaten residents in the western Negev.