Despite terrorist threats to avenge the killings, former IDF Intelligence Deputy Chief Gen. Yaakov Amidror said this morning that the policy of targeted killings "most definitely leads to a drop in terrorist-inflicted deaths."
The target of yesterday's air strike was Hassan Al-Madhun of the Al Aksa Brigades terrorist wing of Fatah, the party headed by Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). Al-Madhun was responsible for the twin attack in Ashdod’s harbor in 2004, and for the bombing of the Gaza-Negev Karni Crossing, killing a total of 16, as well as other attempted attacks. He was further engaged in planning additional attacks for the coming days, the IDF Spokesman announced.
Israel transferred information on Al-Madhun to the Palestinian Authority several times in the past year, emphasizing that he was involved in major attacks that were liable to cause a collapse of diplomatic efforts and a resumption of bloodshed. Despite this, the PA did little or nothing to stop his activities or arrest him.
An unexpected bonus of the air-strike was the killing of a Hamas terrorist traveling in the car with Al-Madhun - Fuazi Abu Kara. Al-Madhun had been known to work in close cooperation with Hamas.
The double strike elicited a war-cry from the Palestinian terrorist organizations, including Hamas. "We cannot be expected to sit quietly in light of this killing," Al Aksa sources stated, and Hamas agents made similar threats.
The threats reawakened a question that is invariably asked in similar situations. Gen. Amidror, speaking on Army Radio, quoted the "precise statistics" of a study by Prof. Ben-Yisrael of Tel Aviv University, showing that "we used to have a full 140 deaths a month, and we were able to bring it down to 50 a year - without even a kilometer of fence."
Amidror explained that this achievement was enabled in two stages: "First by re-conquering Judea and Samaria [in 2002], and then, three months later, by arresting or killing terror leaders... It causes them to spend their time finding hiding places, instead of planning terror attacks."