In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Baha Abu al-Ata, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander killed in a morning strike, was a “ticking time bomb” and that the operation was approved unanimously by the cabinet 10 days ago.
“This terrorist fired hundreds of rockets and planned more attacks,” the prime minister says. “He was a ticking time bomb.”
“Whoever hurts us, we will hurt them. Whoever thinks they can avoid the reach of our long arm is mistaken,” he adds. “We are not interested in escalation but will respond when necessary.”
The prime minister says the operation was discussed by the cabinet for several months, approved 10 days ago and the IDF told to carry out the operation at the time it thought best.