Gaza Rocketmaker Killed in Israeli Strike

First Targeted Assassination Since Conflict Ended

Harsh View: Palestinian boy peers out at funeral for Gaza militant killed by an Israeli strike.
getty images
Harsh View: Palestinian boy peers out at funeral for Gaza militant killed by an Israeli strike.

By Reuters

Published April 30, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel on Tuesday launched its first targeted attack on a militant in Gaza since a war in November, killing a Palestinian jihadist in an air strike that put further strain on a five-month-old ceasefire.

There was also bloodshed in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where for the first time since 2011, a Palestinian killed a Jewish settler. Israeli soldiers shot and wounded the attacker after he stabbed the man at a busy intersection.

Both incidents held the potential of wider confrontation - along the Gaza frontier, where factions linked to al Qaeda have been carrying out intermittent rocket attacks, and in the West Bank, where clashes between stone-throwing Palestinians and the Israeli military intensified in recent months.

Israel said the Palestinian killed in the air strike, Haitham Al-Mes-hal, 29, was a jihadi who was an expert in making rockets. It accused him of involvement in a rocket attack from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula against Israel’s Red Sea resort of Eilat on April 17, which had caused no injuries or damage.

“I had said we would not sit by quietly and let this pass … we will not accept a drizzle of fire from Gaza or from Sinai,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the strike.

Islamist militants in Gaza have fired sporadically at Israel in the past weeks despite an Egyptian-brokered truce that ended an eight-day conflict in November in which rockets hit Israeli cities and Israeli warplanes struck Palestinian territory.

Hamas, an Islamist group close to the Muslim Brotherhood now ruling neighbouring Egypt, has cracked down on hardline Salafi rivals it sees as jeopardising its control of the Gaza Strip.

Egypt, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, has also battled militants in Sinai, where lawlessness has mounted since President Hosni Mubarak’s downfall in 2011.

In Gaza, Mes-hal’s body was wrapped in a black flag of the Salafi factions after the air strike, near a Hamas training camp. “The Sword of Islam” Salafi group, threatened to avenge his death, saying “the response will come very soon”.

An Islamist website that carries statements from al Qaeda-related groups, described Mes-hal as a leader of Magles Shoura Al-Mujahideen, which claimed responsibility for the Eilat hit.

Hamas appeared to take softer tone. A spokesman for the movement, Fawzi Barhoum, said the Israeli attack was “unjustified and a dangerous escalation”, but he urged Egypt to press Israel “to abide by calm and stop the aggression”.

STABBING

In the nearby West Bank, the killing of Eviatar Borovsky, 31, stoked anger among settlers, who complained the military had failed to respond strongly to mounting stone-throwing incidents.

Borovsky’s attacker, who a military spokesman said grabbed his weapon after stabbing him, was identified as Salam Assad Az-Zaghal of the mainstream Fatah movement. Palestinian officials said he was released two months ago from an Israeli prison after serving a 3-1/2-year term.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official in the West Bank city of Nablus, said settlers launched “large-scale attacks” in four villages in the territory after the incident.

“They are throwing stones and attempted to set a house on fire. They also hurled rocks at a school bus and smashed its windows. The situation is going from bad to worse. A mosque was also attacked,” Daghlas said.

Nine Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the beginning of the year, mainly in clashes that have risen sharply in recent months, raising fears that a third popular uprising, or Intifada, might be in the offing.

The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in a 1967 war. Peace talks between the sides broke down in 2010.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.