Weeks after deadly tunnel attack, Israel and Islamic Jihad exchange threats

Sergio Conner
November 14, 2017

After yesterday's report that several of the IDF's Iron Dome batteries had been deployed throughout central Israel, it has been released for publication that one of the batteries has been stationed in the Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area.

"We are in great pain, not only over their deaths, but because of how Israel is presenting itself as the victor in this demolition", the Al-Hayat report quoted Islamic Jihad leaders as saying. That scenario could develop at any moment, and hence the deployment of the Iron Dome units, which will be used to deflect the Gaza missiles fired at Israeli population centers.

President Donald Trump's Special Representative for International Negotiations lashed out against the Islamic Jihad terror group for the threats they have recently made against Israel.

Among those killed in the tunnel demolition were top Islamic Jihad terrorist Arafat Marshad, head of the group's military wing, and his deputy, Hassan Abu Hasnin.

On Saturday, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who runs the Defense Ministry's chief liaison office with the Palestinians, publicly warned Islamic Jihad in a video posted to YouTube.

Islamic Jihad responded to Mordechai's video on Sunday, saying the Israeli threats against its leaders constituted "an act of war", and vowing to continue in its plans to carry out a revenge attack against Israel, according to a statement carried by its media affiliate Palestine Today News Agency. He said Israel holds Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, responsible for attacks launched from the territory.

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Israeli officials said that any attack against the country by Palestinian militants with links to Iran and Syria will also provoke retaliatory measures. The group realizes that by taking action against Israel it was likely to elicit an Israeli response - which would, among other things, nearly certainly destroy the nascent reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

They, however, say the tunnels are needed to transfer essential supplies, including food and fuel, into the Palestinian territory, which has been under a crippling Israeli siege for over a decade.

The army said later that killing the terrorists was not the primary objective of the tunnel demolition.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has been seething since Israel destroyed one of its cross-border attack tunnels last month, killing 12 terrorists, including two senior Islamic Jihad commanders and two Hamas members. Hazem Atallah, the Palestinian national police commander, on Wednesday cast doubt on whether the reconciliation agreement can be carried out, warning that his forces cannot guarantee law and order unless Hamas disarms in Gaza. Any attacks by the Islamic Jihad will elicit a strong response, not only against them, but also against Hamas.

Netanyahu said Sunday Israel "will respond with a heavy hand to anyone who tries to attack us from any front".

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