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Daily Israel Report

Islamic Jihad: We Held Our Fire in the Latest Violence

Islamic Jihad claims it held its fire during the escalation in the south. Hamas played a more active role this time.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 6/23/2012, 1:42 AM

Islamic Jihad terrorists
Islamic Jihad terrorists
Reuters

The Islamic Jihad terror movement claimed on Friday that it held its fire during recent Israeli raids on Gaza because the attacks were limited in scale, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported on Friday.

The IAF launched a series of airstrikes in response to continuous rocket attacks on southern Israel this week. One attack targeting operatives riding a bicycle through the region eliminated two Islamic Jihad terrorists.

Ma’an noted that the Islamic Jihad did not respond but that the military wings of other Gaza-based terror groups, including Hamas, fired rockets into southern Israel.

Islamic Jihad leader Nafeth Azzam told Ma'an, “The escalation was not huge like the previous time, but we were ready and always available. We were not pressured by any side whether to participate or not.”

Political analyst Yahya Rabbah told Ma’an that in the last round of violence the Islamic Jihad “took the entire burden of facing the occupation as most of the martyrs and the injured were its leaders and no one stood beside it until a truce was made through Egyptian mediation.”

In March, terror gangs in Gaza led by the Islamic Jihad fired over 200 rockets into Israel over a period of four days, following the targeted killing of Popular Resistance Committee leader Zuhir Musa Ahmed Qaisi and his deputy, Mahmoud Ahmed Mahmoud Hanani.

He suggested that Islamic Jihad stayed on the sidelines this week “to see how others would face the Israeli aggression.”

Analyst Akram Atallah told Ma’an that the Islamic Jihad did not respond to the Israeli raids on Monday because it was still abiding by a previous truce – which was broken several times.

“Suddenly the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, shelled Israeli villages and areas near Gaza but Islamic Jihad stayed committed (to the truce),” Atallah said, suggesting that Hamas resumed rocket fire on Israel after making political calculations related to Egypt's presidential elections.

He said Hamas fired rockets to test Israel's reaction in light of regional changes, and for this reason the Islamic Jihad did not participate.

The Islamic Jihad has claimed it has rockets that can reach Tel Aviv and has threatened that it is ready to expand the reach of its rocket fire "beyond the Israeli town of Ashdod."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)