One of the 3 Palestinian Islamic Jihad senior commanders killed in the
IAF’s strikes in Gaza early on Tuesday, Tarek Az Aldin, was attempting
to orchestrate the firing of improvised rockets from the West Bank at
Israel, according to IDF intelligence assessments. Such a development
would have represented a severe deterioration of the security
the situation in central Israel, where most of Israel’s population and
economic hubs are located.
Az Aldin, who served 25 years in an Israeli prison after being
convicted with severe terrorism offenses, including suicide bombings
and IED attacks were also responsible for orchestrating the activities
of PIJ in the West Bank, as well as transferring funds for terrorist
cells there from Gaza.
He represented the sort of instability that the Israeli defense
the establishment is concerned would spark a major escalation between
Israel and Gazan terror factions, drag in Hamas and possibly spread
Khalil Bahitini, who WAS also eliminated in the IAF strikes, was
responsible for rocket fire on Israel in the past month, as commander
of the PIJ’s Northern Gaza Division, and approved all terrorist
attacks from there. He was planning further significant rocket attacks
on southern Israeli civilians, according to Israeli intelligence
Jahed Ahnam, a third senior PIJ operative killed in the strikes, which
was the organization’s secretary of the military council in the past, and
most recently in charge of its cooperation with Hamas, oversaw
transfers of weapons and money transfers between PIJ and Hamas.
Although PIJ is fully percent funded by Iran, these activities in Gaza
are local initiatives, according to IDF assessments.