U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas R. Nides supported Israel’s “right to protect itself” on Friday after the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an Iran-backed terror group in Gaza, fired 100-plus rockets at Israeli towns earlier that day.
“The United States firmly believes that Israel has a right to protect itself. We are engaging with different parties and urge all sides for calm,” Ambassador Nides wrote in a Twitter statement on August 5.
The United States firmly believes that Israel has a right to protect itself. We are engaging with different parties and urge all sides for calm.
— Ambassador Tom Nides (@USAmbIsrael) August 5, 2022
PIJ claimed responsibility on August 5 for firing more than 100 rockets at southern and central Israeli towns that day, the Times of Israel reported. A spokesman for the terror group claimed that the action was “just the beginning” of PIJ’s response to an Israeli military airstrike that killed its commander, Tayseer al-Jabari, in Gaza earlier on August 5.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) ordered a targeted airstrike on an apartment in Gaza on Friday that killed Al-Jabari. The IDF approved the airstrike after Israeli intelligence learned that Al-Jabari was “involved in planning significant attacks against Israel, including with the use of anti-tank missiles,” the Jerusalem Post reported on August 5.
“The IDF said that it had collected intelligence about Jabari’s plans several weeks ago,” according to the newspaper.
The combined intelligence gathering and airstrike were part of an IDF military operation called “Breaking Dawn,” which seeks to deter the PIJ from carrying out terror attacks on Israeli targets.
Al-Jabari was in charge of PIJ’s rocket arsenal and served as the terror group’s primary coordinator with Hamas. Both PIJ and Hamas are proxy terrorist organizations backed by Iran that openly seek the violent destruction of the state of Israel.
Hamas issued a statement on August 5 in which the terror group said it was mourning the death of Al-Jabari.
“[T]he blood of our people and the resistance are not shed in vain,” the statement read.
PIJ leader Ziad al-Nakhalahon declared “war” on Israel on Friday in retaliation for the IDF airstrike that killed Al-Jabari.
“We are heading to battle, and there is no truce after this airstrike. The results of this war will be in favor of the Palestinian people. The enemy should expect a battle, not a truce,” Al-Nakhalah stated.
Israel was preparing for further rocket attacks by the PIJ late Friday. The IDF’s Iron Dome anti-missile system protected Israeli cities, mainly in the country’s south, from the PIJ’s rocket barrage earlier on August 5.
Israel’s Army Radio said the rockets launched at Israel by the PIJ on Friday were less advanced models than those deployed by Hamas during the Iranian proxy’s last war with Israel in May 2021.