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Islamic Jihad says Israel planning new war

November 21, 2010

The following article is reprinted with permission from Ma’an News Agency, Bethlehem.

Islamic Jihad says Israel planning new war
©  Ma’an News Agency
November 21, 2010  (updated)

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Islamic Jihad said Saturday that Israeli media campaigns and drills carried out by Israeli forces suggest Israel is planning a new military offensive on the Gaza Strip.

Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab said Israel was using the media to transmit false information linking militant factions in Gaza with Al-Qaeda, in an effort to recruit regional support for an attack on the coastal enclave.

The Israeli news site Ynet reported Saturday that Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Meron Reuven filed an official complaint with the U.N. that projectiles fired from Gaza were endangering regional stability. The letter further said that Israel would use all means necessary to protect its security, the report added.

Shehab said the recent escalation of Israeli attacks on the Strip was not new but followed a long series of offensives which affected all aspects of life in Gaza.

Following Israeli air strikes on Friday and Saturday, a spokesman for Popular Resistance Committees’ armed wing said the intensive shelling was clear evidence that Israel was preparing for a comprehensive offensive on the Strip. In a statement issued Saturday, the An-Nasser Brigades spokesman said the escalation in attacks was a declaration of war, adding that recent strikes had targeted civilians.

Israeli forces launched three airstrikes on the central and southern Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon, injuring six residents including two women and a child, medics said. Shelling continued to target southern Gaza overnight.

The Israeli military said the attacks were in response to a series of projectiles launched from Gaza into southern Israel on Thursday and Friday, and a Grad rocket fired into the Negev desert on Friday morning. The rocket was launched hours after local police said Israeli warplanes bombed the shoreline south of Gaza City. No injuries were reported in Israel.

On Thursday, the An-Nasser Brigades claimed responsibility for firing three mortar shells towards an Israeli intelligence headquarters along the Gaza border.

In a statement, the PRC said the operation was in response to Wednesday’s assassination of two brothers who were members of the radical Army of Islam group. An Israeli drone targeted a car carrying the brothers, Islam and Muhammad Yassin, in the center of Gaza City. Israel claimed they were plotting to attack Israeli citizens in Egypt’s Sinai.

The Jihad spokesman said the objective of firing home-made projectiles was “to warn Israel of the consequences of waging any offensives on Gaza.”

While the resistance had only modest capabilities compared to the huge arsenal possessed by Israel, Palestinians were strengthened by their resolve to confront every offense, Shehab said. The resistance would fire not only at the settlements close to Gaza, but deep into Israel, he added.

Shehab condemned the recent proposal by the U.S. offering Israel military and political incentives in exchange for a one-off, temporary freeze on construction in some settlements. The deal is said to include 20 war planes, worth $3 billion, and a guarantee that the U.S. will veto Palestinian attempts to declare a state at the U.N. Security Council.

The offer was a “bribe to the occupation” from which Palestinians would gain nothing but Israel would benefit twice, Shehab said. The proposal would enforce the occupation and legitimize the resumption of settlement expansion after 90 days he said, adding that Israel would also gain financially and militarily from the deal.

[End.]

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