Jihad Islami fires 26 Qassam missiles from Gaza after losing two West Bank chiefs
Several missiles landed in Sderot causing damage. No immediate reports of casualties.
The salvoes from Wednesday night, March 12 to Thursday midday, came after five senior Palestinian terror commanders were killed in clashes with Israeli forces.
The long-wanted Bethlehem chief Mohammed Shehadeh was killed, along with Imad Kemal, Issa Marzoura and Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades operative Ahmed Balful, by an undercover Israeli force in Bethlehem Wednesday. They were sought for years for orchestrating major mass-murder attacks in Israel between 2001and 2004.
In an earlier encounter, in another part of the West Bank, an Israeli force killed the Jihad Islami’s Tulkarm commander.
debkafile adds: Israel security forces expected Jihad Islami to retaliate with missile fire from Gaza – not just in revenge, but to underline the Hamas-Jihad demand in ongoing ceasefire negotiations for any truce agreed for Gaza to apply to the West Bank as well. Israel refuses to let its hands be tied in its long and effective counter-terror campaign on the West Bank.
Israel’s national high terror alert remains in place. It was imposed seven days ago after 8 students were murdered by a Palestinian gunman at the Jerusalem Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem. Jewish congregations mark the seventh day of their deaths, March 13, with memorial services in Israel and overseas.