Photo: Flash 90

Israel-Gaza: feeble ceasefire holds

A little under 40 hours since the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire was announced, a tense calm seemingly holds. Nevertheless, eight rockets were launched indiscriminately from the Jihadist plagued Gaza Strip toward Israel’s southern communities yesterday. The sporadic fire immediately ended however following an Israeli retaliatory strike around 1 AM early this morning.

The IDF Spokesperson’s unit underscored in a statement that it “views the violation of the ceasefire (namely the) rocket fire directed at Israel with great severity,” and emphasized that it “is prepared to continue operating as necessary against all attempts to harm Israeli civilians.”

This round of hostilities, titled “Operation Black Belt” by the Israeli military, is vocally perceived by the top political and defense echelons of the Jewish State as a “resounding success.” It all began with what the IDF spokesperson’s unit described as “a window of opportunity”, for the targeted assassination of the so-called Iranian-backed mastermind of the past year’s terror-related activities against Israel, Baha Abu al-Ata.

Furthermore, the battles that followed exacted a heavy toll from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, killing at least 22 of its militants and forcing it to content alone in the fight against Israel, without the help of its years-long ally, the Islamist Hamas organization. And while the Iranian-backed terror group managed to fire – all together – 450 rockets at Israel during the days of battle, not a single Israeli civilian was killed and the military’s Iron Dome surface-to-air missile system successfully intercepted 90% of the rockets that had a verified trajectory toward populated areas. That said, 77 Israelis sustained light injuries and extensive damage was caused to both private and commercial property.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured one of the IDF’s Iron Dome Batteries and its Missile Intercept Control Center.  He praised the different branches of the Israeli defense establishment saying “I would like to commend the soldiers and commanders for the extraordinary achievement of our defense system, which performed very well, along with the civilians who listened to IDF Home Front Command instructions. We are approaching the end of the operation. First of all, I can praise the IDF and ISA for a great achievement and thank my fellow Security Cabinet members for the responsible and daring decision to launch this operation.”

Netanyahu further insisted that “The goals of the operation have now been fully achieved. The goal of the operation was to target the commander of Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. He was eliminated along with dozens of terrorists and dozens of important Islamic Jihad infrastructure targets.”

Netanyahu concluded his statement by underscoring the benefits of Israel’s bolstered deterrence. In his words: “Our enemies received the message. We can reach everyone. We can reach everyone, even in their bed. I hope that this lesson will be learned. I rely on our forces. We will continue to improve and do whatever may be necessary to ensure the security of Israel.”

In spite of Netanyahu’s voiced hope that Israel’s enemies would act rationally by learning from their apparent vulnerability to Jerusalem’s deadly capabilities; Palestinian residents of the Islamist infested Gaza Strip staged a protest last night, during which they called on the Jihadist organizations in the Hamas-controlled territory to resume the rocket fire toward Israel’s civilian communities. One such resident, Mohammad Mahani, said “We will not forget the blood of Abu Salim (Baha Abu al-Atta). We want a great response against them (Israel) and we want rockets being fired at Tel Aviv and Sderot.”

It is important to mention that alongside the successful assassination of the Islamic Jihad commander in the Gaza Strip, the alleged Israeli assassination attempt in Damascus failed. Per our previous reports on TV7, the residential compound of top Islamic Jihad commander Akram al-Ajouri was targeted at the same time that as the Israeli operation in Gaza.

During a leadership meeting of multiple Palestinian terror groups, in which they coordinate their activities against Israel, one of the Palestinian faction leaders confirmed that al-Ajouri managed to escape. According to head of Nidal Palestinian Front (NPF) Khaled Abdul Majid “he is fine (Akram al-Ajouri). We cannot confirm that he was injured but through our information from the Islamic Jihad movement, we know he is fine and in good health.”

Abdul Majid further noted that the various Palestinian organization will exact revenge for the attempted assassination, because while Akram al-Ajouri managed to escape, his son Muath sustained fatal injuries in the alleged Israeli attack.

It most be recognized that Al-Ajouri is a member of Islamic Jihad’s political bureau, who heads the organization’s Supreme Military Council and is considered to be the number two man in the Jihadist group after Ziad al-Nakhalah. Among his various responsibilities, Al Ajouri is in charge of garnering means of support for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad from the Islamic Republic of Iran for the purpose of terror-related activities in the Gaza Strip against the Jewish State.