Israel, Gaza Terror Group Trade Threats after Tunnel Attack

Is war brewing with Gaza? Israeli tank. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Israel has already recently thwarted attempted terrorism by Gaza militants by blowing up a terror tunnel that reached into Israeli territory, and they are making it clear they won’t tolerate an escalation in the situation. To the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group—which has a presence in Gaza and leadership based in Syria—the Israeli message was clear: Further aggression could be met with assassination of the terror group’s leaders in Damascus.

The leader of Israel’s liaison group with the Palestinians, Maj. Gen. Yoav Moedechai, posted a video to the organization’s Twitter page this weekend to issue an Israeli warning in Arabic. “We advise the Islamic Jihad leadership in Damascus to exercise caution and take control over the situation,” said Mordechai, the head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), in comments also translated into English captions.”

“To the leadership of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Damascus—Ramadan Shalah and Ziad Nakhaleh—we say: Take matters quickly into your own hands, because you are the ones who will be held accountable.” In response, Islamic Jihad issued some threats of their own.

In a statement published by the Islamic Jihad media affiliate Palestine Today News Agency, and republished by The Times of Israel, the terror group called the Israeli warning to their leaders “a declaration of war, which we will confront.”

Islamic Jihad further said they have a “right to respond” to Israel’s striking of the terror tunnel, which killed 10 Islamic Jihad members.

Mordechai, in his comments, said Israel is “aware of the plot” planned by Islamic Jihad, but didn’t limit his threat of an Israeli response to Islamic Jihad. He said it also applied for Hamas, the predominate power in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a similar warning of his own on Sunday.

“We will take a very firm stance against anyone who tries to attack us or attacks us from any area. I mean any source: rogue factions, organizations—anyone,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “In any event, we see Hamas responsible [for] any attack launched or organized from the Gaza Strip against us.”

The Times of Israel, citing Palestinian media reports, said Hamas has opposed an Islamic Jihad response to the tunnel attack, with the ongoing delicate reconciliation talks with the Palestinian Authority one reason for that concern.

Mordechai referenced those efforts in his warning to Islamic Jihad. Said Mordechai of Islamic Jihad, “They are playing with fire at the expense of the Gazan residents, the Palestinian reconciliation efforts, and the stability of the entire region. Let it be clear: Any attack by the Islamic Jihad, will be met with a harsh and determined Israeli response.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, November 12, 2017)




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