The Israeli Air Force (IAF) today targeted and killed Ahmed Za’anin, a Palestinian terrorist in the Gaza Strip. Ahmed Za’anin was killed along with another member of his family, Mohammed Za’anin, near Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza.
Za’anin had been “involved in recent attacks against Israel and in the planning of further attacks in the coming days,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. According to the IDF, Za’anin was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). He was previously a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the IDF said. Both the PFLP’s Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s al Quds Brigades issued statements praising Ahmed Za’anin.
Mohammed Za’anin was said to be a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Associated Press reported.
“Since 2009 [Ahmed] Za’anin, with cooperation from other terror bodies in the Gaza Strip, has endorsed numerous attacks against Israel,” the IDF said. Most recently, Ahmed Za’anin was involved in the rocket attack on Jan. 13 around the time of the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the IDF claimed.
That attack had been claimed by a group calling itself the Yahya Ayyash Brigades.
The firing of rockets and mortars toward Israel from Gaza has increased in recent weeks. In response to the rocket fire, the IAF has struck a number of terror sites in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Today’s attack is the second attempted targeted killing of a Palestinian terrorist in Gaza in the past week. On Jan. 19, the IAF targeted Ahmad Saad, an operative in Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who was allegedly behind the firing of five rockets toward Ashkelon on Jan. 16, among other attacks. In contrast to Za’anin, Saad was only wounded.
Israeli officials in recent days have said that Hamas “can and must do more” to stop rocket fire from Gaza. During a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:
We have a very clear policy. We thwart terror attacks if we identify them while they are still being planned, and we respond decisively against those who harm us. This policy brought about a calm year in 2013, the calmest in many years. If Hamas and the terror organizations have forgotten this message, they will learn it harshly very soon.