One of the most significant achievements of the IDF’s “Operation Shield and Arrow” was the targeted killing of senior Islamic Jihad leader Tarek Izz a-Din, who was responsible for the military operations of Islamic Jihad in Judea and Samaria.
In addition to establishing armed terrorist cells in Judea and Samaria, Islamic Jihad is trying to establish a manufacturing and launching infrastructure to threaten Israel’s cities.
During a press conference on May 9, 2023, Israel Security Agency chief Ronen Bar revealed, “In the last few weeks, we thwarted a squad in the Jenin refugee camp area, which had already started producing rockets and a launcher to fire rockets from Samaria towards Israel.” A video broadcast by Palestinian media showed the firing of a Qassam-type rocket in the Jenin area, apparently an experiment by the same squad.
The Israeli security establishment is concerned about the Palestinians turning Judea and Samaria regions close to major Israeli cities, especially the Jenin and Tulkarm areas, into areas for rocket production and launching, like in Gaza.
The IDF’s “Operation Protective Shield” in March 2002 restored to Israel the complete freedom of security activities within the Palestinian cities and allowed the elimination of terrorist cells engaged in the production of rockets.
Security sources in Israel say that the armed groups of Islamic Jihad in Jenin and Nablus are also trying to turn ordinary drones into attack drones by attaching explosive charges to them.
Since the end of the IDF’s operation in Gaza in May 2021, Islamic Jihad been establishing armed terrorist groups in northern Samaria called “battalions,” in coordination with Iran.
For this purpose, Ziyad Al-Nakhalah, the Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad, traveled to Tehran and met with Major General Hossein Salami, commander of the Revolutionary Guards, in August 2022, to receive funding and coordinate the smuggling of weapons into Judea and Samaria through Jordan.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IGRC) commander, Major General Hossein Salami (left), and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhalah in Tehran, August 6, 2022.
Islamic Jihad’s attempt to manufacture rockets in Judea and Samaria and launch them at major cities in Israel is another step in implementing the doctrine of General Qassem Soleimani to surround Israel with a stranglehold of hundreds of thousands of rockets, missiles, and drones from all fronts.
The New Rocket Mastermind: Tariq Ibrahim Izz a-Din
Israel Security Agency head Ronan Bar revealed that the terrorist squad planning to produce rockets in the Jenin area was directed by senior Islamic Jihad leader Tarek Izz a-Din, who was killed in the recent IDF operation in Gaza.
This is a dangerous precedent, said Bar. The members of the arrested squad admitted that Tarek Izz a-Din was their handler. “We have no intention of turning Afula into a target for terrorist attacks,” Bar emphasized.
The targeted killing of Tarek Izz a-Din was one of the essential components of “Operation Shield and Arrow,” part of Israeli security activities to disrupt the military establishment of Islamic Jihad in northern Samaria.
Tarek Izz a-Din, 49, was originally from the village of Araba in Samaria – the same village where senior Islamic Jihad leader Hader Adnan lived, who died in prison after a hunger strike while rejecting medical treatment.
Izz a-Din was a military operative of Islamic Jihad in the first and second intifadas. He was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to life imprisonment for directing a suicide attack in the Israeli city of Hadera. He was released as part of the prisoner exchange deal for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011 and deported to Gaza. In recent years, he advanced to the command level of Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
He was responsible for the connection between the Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the organization in Judea and Samaria, the transfer of funds, and inciting and directing terrorist attacks in Israeli territory from Gaza.
Izz a-Din was very close to Saleh al-Arouri, the head of the military wing of Hamas in Judea and Samaria (but based in Beirut), and had close operational and intelligence cooperation with him.
The activities of the Israeli security services to thwart the terrorist plans of Islamic Jihad in Judea and Samaria are essential. Still, there may be no escape from an extensive military operation in northern Samaria to arrest or kill the terrorists who have established themselves there during the past two years. Otherwise, they will move to attack inside the main cities of Israel.