With targeted killing long becoming a key and perhaps primary counterterrorism measure used by a number of States in their confrontation with lethal terror, this article looks at the pros and cons of this method of warfare while focusing on the underlying justification for its use–namely its objective driven effectiveness. Israel’s use of targeted killing, intended to mitigate Palestinian suicide terrorism during the first decade of the 21st century, serves as the key case study in this article. A quantitative approach was adopted, using growth model analysis, and isolation of designated area, to demonstrate the effectiveness of targeted killing in reducing fatalities caused by suicide bombings. The period examined was from 2000 to 2010, with a key finding being that targeted killings of ideological leaders, primarily in Gaza, were more effective than operative level targeted killings in the context of confronting suicide bombing fatalities.
First published in Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol 9, No 1 (2015)