The IDF later announced that Mohanna, 25, began his terrorist activities four years ago, ultimately becoming one of the leading Islamic Jihad operatives in northern Gaza. He was "active in the initiation, planning and direction of many attacks against IDF forces," the IDF press release stated, but his main activity was in developing and guiding the Kassam rocket campaign against Sderot and the western Negev area. He continued Kassam activities even during the recent "tahadiye" (period of calm).
The air attack took place in Jabalya, a northern Gaza center of terrorist activity adjacent to Gaza City. The missiles, at least one of which was fired from an unmanned aircraft, hit a white vehicle in which Islamic Jihad terrorists were traveling, killing Mohanna, his deputy Mohamed Ghazaineh, and two others.
Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator Saeb Erakat condemned the Israeli attack and warned of "consequences of this escalation." Abu Uday, an Al-Aksa Brigades terrorist leader, was more blunt in his threat: "Israel has opened upon itself the gates of hell with this killing." He said that all Palestinian terrorist factions could be expected to respond. "We are no longer committed to this miserable tahadiye," he said.
Three Kassam rockets were in fact fired towards Sderot last night, but all of them fell short and landed in Palestinian Authority-controlled territory.
Israeli officials, undeterred, said that more such anti-terror activities could be expected in the war against the terrorist infrastructures.
Earlier on Thursday, the IDF entered Jenin and arrested Islamic Jihad terrorist leader Abdel Khalim Izzadin and five other terrorists. This was the first Israeli military action after Wednesday's suicide bombing in Hadera that killed five Israelis.