Just two days after the alliance of terrorist groups in Gaza called for a ceasefire, the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad called the 700 rockets fired at Israel a “live-fire drill” meant to prepare for a war against Israel in which they will focus on killing as many Israeli civilians as possible.
“The last escalation was only a live-fire drill in preparation for the major campaign that is coming,” PIJ’s Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhalehr said during an interview on Tuesday with the Lebanese al-Mayadeen news outlet that is affiliated with the terrorist group, Hezbollah.
In the interview, Al-Nakhalehr stated explicitly that it was the terror groups in Gaza who had initiated the hostilities and not Israel.
“We decided to fire at an IDF officer and a female soldier last Friday in cooperation with Hamas to respond to the killing of protesters at the March of Return,” Al-Nakhaleh said, according to Channel 13 news. “This was decided while we were in Cairo. The Egyptians didn’t like the fact that this happened while we were in Cairo. Myself and Yahya Sinwar (the current leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip) decided to continue the escalation…Between us and Hamas there is agreement on everything.”
The Gazan terrorist groups declared a ceasefire at 4:30 am on Monday morning.
The PIJ leader said that it was their intention in future conflicts to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible.
“[We were] about to launch rockets at Tel Aviv when the cease-fire [with Israel] stopped it from happening,” al-Nakhalehr said. “We will continue until all our objectives are met. What happened in the most recent escalation was a preparation for the next major battle. From now on, the rocket fire will focus primarily on Tel Aviv and other large cities.”
He predicted that a war against Gaza would be launched “this summer,”
Approximately 700 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza by Palestinian Islamic Jihad backed by Iran and Hamas from when the attack began Saturday morning until the ceasefire began less than 48-hours later. Channel 12 reported that 173 were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile protection system. Four Israelis were killed by rockets and at least ten others were treated for shrapnel wounds. Dozens more were treated for shell-shock.
Israel responded by hitting approximately 320 military targets in Gaza. 29 Gazans were killed in IDF strikes, many of them declared as terrorists by Gazan sources. The two crossings connecting Israel and Gaza were closed in the wake of the attacks and the IDF shut down fishing rights off the coast of Gaza. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced that all fuel imports to Gaza would be stopped effective immediately. 29 Gazans were killed in IDF strikes, many of them declared as terrorists by Gazan sources.