Friday, 17 November, 2017

Israel Raises Alert Level Amid Tensions With Islamic Jihad

Tiffany Ding  Herald Tiffany Ding Herald
Bennie Garza | 14 November, 2017, 18:45

As IDF goes on high alert, US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt tells terror group to stand down or face the consequences. "When they kill men of the resistance, and especially from Islamic Jihad, we have no other choice but to punish the occupier, and continue to strengthen the buildup of forces from a conflict", al-Batash reportedly said.

The offices where Hamas once searched luggage and its intelligence officers interviewed foreign visitors now lie abandoned, their contents looted since the group handed Gaza's borders over to the PA at the beginning of November, marking the first concrete change since the reconciliation process started.

Like the posters of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and his predecessor Yasser Arafat plastered on the walls at the Erez checkpoint, the flags celebrate an Egyptian-sponsored Palestinian reconciliation process, meant to end a decade-long split between Abbas' Fatah faction and Hamas, who have been ruling Gaza since 2007.

Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip is the enclave's only terminal not controlled by Israel. "It is playing with fire at the expense of the citizens of Gaza, at the expense of Palestinian reconciliation and at the expense of the entire region".

The IDF estimates that the Islamic Jihad is planning an attack on the Jewish State following the IDF's demolition of a Gaza terror tunnel some two weeks ago.

Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, head of the Israeli military authority in the occupied Palestinian territories, warned that Israel would give a "harsh and determined" response that would target Islamic Jihad's Damascus-based leaders as well as the Hamas movement, which has ruled Gaza for the past decade. It should be clear that [to] any response by Islamic Jihad, Israel will respond with determination and power, not just against Islamic Jihad but against Hamas as well.

The Islamic Jihad responded by saying that the IDF's statement was a "declaration of war". "The threat by the enemy to harm the leadership is a declaration of war and we will deal with them", the organization said in a statement. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu likewise cautioned that the military "will respond with a heavy hand to anyone who tries to attack it from any front".

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