Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhala said on Tuesday that he believed that a war would break out between Israel and Gaza this summer because of the intention to "disarm the resistance in Gaza."
He made the comments in an interview with the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV, translated by Channel 13 News.
"We decided to fire at an IDF officer and a female soldier last Friday in cooperation with Hamas, in response to the killing of the demonstrators at the return marches," said Nakhala. "The Egyptians did not like the fact that this was happening while we were in Cairo. I, together with Yahya Sinwar, decided to continue the response. I say that the last round of escalation was only an exercise in live ammunition ahead of the larger battle to take place soon."
The Islamic Jihad leader further claimed that if the previous round of escalation had continued, rocket fire on Tel Aviv would have taken place "within hours."
The escalation began after Palestinian Arab terrorists opened fire at Israeli soldiers along the Gaza border in southern Israel, wounding an officer and a soldier.
In response to the shooting, IDF aircraft attacked a military post belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza, killing two Hamas terrorists.
The Palestinian Arab factions in Gaza later threatened to retaliate for the air strike, saying, "In view of the brutal Israeli aggression against our people, the leadership of the joint Palestinian resistance factions calls on all military factions to increase their readiness in order to respond to the enemy's crimes.”
Gaza terrorists then fired some 700 rockets at southern Israel between Saturday morning and early Monday morning. Four Israelis were killed in the last round of confrontation.
On Monday morning at 4:30 a.m., a ceasefire brokered by Egypt and Qatar reportedly went into effect.