Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned a Palestinian Islamic Jihad official late Wednesday to “pack his stuff real quick” when Halil al Bathani was identified as the one who had ordered a rocket attack on Ashkelon while the prime minister was in the city attending a campaign event.
The Red Alert incoming rocket siren was triggered at around 9 pm, sending hundreds of thousands of Israelis racing for cover across southern Israel, including in the city of Ashkelon.
Iron Dome fighters shot down one rocket that was headed directly for the city. No property damage and no physical injuries were reported. Following the attack, the prime minister issued a direct threat to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization, saying: “The last one who ordered the rocket fire towards Ashdod when I was there is not with us anymore. This one needs to pack his stuff real quick.”
In early November, the IDF resumed its policy of targeted killings and assassinated Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, Baha Abu al-Ata, who ordered the rocket attack to take place on Ashdod while Netanyahu was campaigning in the city. Al-Ata was the commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Northern Al Quds Brigade.
Al-Ata was also considered unpredictable by numerous military officials and several senior terrorist commanders as well. According to the IDF, al-Ata’s next attack against Israel was “imminent,” and he was “directly responsible for hundreds of terror attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.”
As happens with nearly all rocket attacks, the IDF launched a counterattack within hours after the Iron Dome aerial defense fighters successfully intercepted the rocket launched from Gaza.
Before midnight, Israeli military forces were retaliating against Hamas and allied terror partners in response to the attack.