Hamas Threatens Israel Ahead of the Patriotic Jerusalem Day March, IDF Responds with Operation “Shield and Arrow”
IDF: “Islamic Jihad and its leaders have been threatening the security of Israelis for too long.”
Nearly a day after Islamic terrorist group Hamas threatened Israel ahead of Thursday’s patriotic Jerusalem Day march, the Israeli military launched a large-scale counterterrorism operation, eliminating three Gaza-based commanders and several fighters of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a terrorist group closely allied to Hamas.
In recent months, PIJ — under Hamas’s protection — has been using its bases in Gaza to fire rockets into southern Israel. Both PIJ and Hamas receive weapons, training, and funding from the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Upcoming Jerusalem Day March Enrages Hamas
The annual Jerusalem Day March celebrates Israel’s taking control of the Old City and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. The patriotic event draws tens of thousands of Israelis to the Holy City. Last year, close to 50,000 Jews and Israelis took part in the rally; marching joyfully, raising patriotic chants, and brightening up the streets of Jerusalem with the blue and white of the Israeli flags.
In 2016, William A. Jacobson witnessed Jerusalem Day and noted in his post how “[t]ens of thousands of people stream into the city for the march towards the Western Wall (Read the post here).
For those interested in the historic and cultural significance of Jerusalem Day, I would recommend Prof. Miriam Elman’s insightful 2015 post titled “Five Reasons to Celebrate Jerusalem Day.”
Each year, the sight of patriotic Israelis peacefully walking through their eternal capital irritates the mainstream media and enrages terrorist and Islamist organizations. The event is often accompanied by jihadist threats and violent riots by angry Palestinians.
Last year, Hamas threatened Israel with “war” if the marchers went ahead with the event. This year, those violent threats were renewed.
The Times of Israel reported Hamas’s threat against the rally:
Palestinian terror group Hamas warned on Sunday that it would not let Israel “Judaize” Jerusalem ahead of a controversial nationalist march through the Muslim Quarter of the capital’s Old City set for later this week.
Hamas spokesperson Abd al-Latif al-Qanou said in a statement that Jerusalem “will remain the Palestinian capital” and that the Gaza-based group “will not allow the Zionist occupation to implement plans to Judaize the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the city of Jerusalem through division…or flag parades.”
“The flag parade in Jerusalem will not change the reality, we will maintain the ‘equation’ as imposed by the resistance,” he said, in reference to Palestinian groups that have in the past responded to events in Jerusalem and on the flashpoint Temple Mount site with rockets from Gaza.
IDF launches ‘Shield and Arrow’ operation
Nearly a day after Hamas’s terror threat, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli security forces launched the operation “Shield and Arrow,” targeting the top leadership of the Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
“The IDF and ISA [Israel Securities Agency] targeted the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization’s Northern Gaza Division Commanding Officer responsible for the rocket fire of 110 rockets toward Israel in the past month; a senior operative and coordinator of terrorism in Judea and Samaria from Gaza; and the Secretary of the Military Council,” the IDF said in a statement obtained by the Legal Insurrection.
Terrorism is a threat to civilians everywhere.
Islamic Jihad and its leaders have been threatening the security of Israelis for too long.
The IDF has launched a targeted campaign against Islamic Jihad in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/tCUXgL4Als
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 9, 2023
The Israeli news agency Ynet reported:
Israel launched strikes on Gaza in the early morning hours on Tuesday in a targeted killing of the PIJ commanders and the destruction of the Islamist terror group’s bases and weapon production sites.
The IDF released video footage of the targeted killing of Khalil al-Bahtini, the commander of the northern Gaza Strip region, and Jihad Ghannam, the secretary of the Jihad Military Council. Both were among the three senior operatives who were killed in an airstrike.
Israeli officials are currently awaiting a response from the Gaza Strip following the initiation of Operation “Shield and Arrow”.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conducted a one-hour situation assessment with top security officials, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi, Shin Bet Chief Ronen Bar, and Mossad Chief Dedi Barnea.
Defense Minister Gallant spoke with officials in Gaza, informing them that Israel is prepared for any scenario, including a prolonged and expanded campaign. He emphasized that the IDF and security forces are equipped with all necessary resources and that the security apparatus is ready to offer any necessary assistance.
FACT: Under international law, #Israel is fully entitled to undertake targeted killings of top #IslamicJihad terrorist leaders in Gaza, as a self-defensive measure over their involvement in prior terror attacks (incl. rocket fire) and planning of imminent future attacks as well. pic.twitter.com/2qfcc0lzfT
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) May 9, 2023
The Israeli TV channel i24news reported the profile of the slain Islamic terrorists:
The operation, dubbed “Shield and Arrow,” targeted senior group members Jahed Ahnam, Khalil Bahitini, and Tarek Az Aldin.
Ahnam served in several key posts high up in the organization, and was recently involved in the transfer of money and weapons between PIJ and Hamas, the ruling entity in Gaza.
While situated in the Gaza Strip, Aldin plotted terrorist attacks in the West Bank. Bahitini was responsible for rockets fired at Israel last month, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.
Khalil Bahitini, a commanding officer in the PIJ’s Northern Gaza Division, was responsible for the rockets launched from Gaza toward Israel in April. He was a member of the PIJ’s military council in Gaza, and was in direct contact with members of the PIJ political bureau.
The Israeli counterterrorism operation continued throughout the day, killing more PIJ operatives and destroying terrorist weapons facilities in Gaza.
“The Israel Defense Forces says it has struck an anti-tank guided missile cell near the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, before it managed to carry out an attack on the border. The IDF says it will provide further details on the strike later,” The Times of Israel reported Tuesday afternoon. “Unconfirmed Palestinian media reports say two members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad have been killed in the strike.”
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I’d like to see them respond with Smash and Flatten. Followed by Push To The Sea.
Napalm would leave less to clean up.
Wouldn’t that create a greater risk to communities in southern Israel? Many people have no idea how close some of those communities are to the border with Gaza. Fire spreads easily, especially in a dry, hot country, and the fumes and smoke do not respect the borders either.
Good. About time Israel realized that there will never be peace between the state of Israel and the arab terrorists that seek to destroy it and is taking pro-active measures to prevent the hostilities. Took them long enough but there we are.
Since Iran seems to be funding them and loves them so much I think Israel should round them up and ship them there and then claim all of Israel. Only way to get any peace.
The only good terrorist Is a dead terrorist.
These people are animals. They are in a death cult.
In an interview with the Palestinian Quds News Agency that aired on Sunday, the mother of Hamas terrorist Hassan Qatanani boasted about her son’s terrorism after he murdered British-Israeli Lucy Dee along with her two daughters in a shooting attack last month.
“He loved martyrdom,” his mother said. “He would say to me, day and night, ‘Mom, I want to be martyred.’ He would kiss my hand and say: ‘Pray to Allah that I will be martyred.’”
“Praise be to Allah for granting him what he wanted,” she added.