Gaza jihadists pledge to ‘bomb center of Israel’

“We will not settle for attacking around Gaza, but we will bomb the center of the so-called State of Israel,” says official from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Gaza-based terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) pledged to attack Israel on the heels of the Israeli arrest of the group’s Samaria-based commander, Bassem al-Saadi.

Amid fears of an imminent retaliatory rocket or mortar shell attack, Israeli authorities have shut down train traffic and major thoroughfares in southern Gaza-adjacent cities and communities for three consecutive days.

But a senior PIJ official told The Media Line that the terror group was not bound by geographic restrictions and would not limit its response to the arrest to the area near Gaza.

“We have every right to bomb Israel with our most advanced weapons and make the occupier pay a heavy price. We will not settle for attacking around Gaza, but we will bomb the center of the so-called State of Israel,” Khaled al-Batsh, head of PIJ’s politburo, told The Media Line.

Some Israeli commentators have suggested that PIJ is incapable of retaliation at the moment, thanks to last year’s Guardian of the Walls clash which saw the IDF destroy massive rockets and weapons stockpiles and other strategic assets belonging to PIJ and Hamas.

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Additionally, Hebrew-language media reported that Egyptian mediators visited the terror group’s officials in Gaza following al-Saadi’s arrest, in a de-escalation attempt aiming to persuade PIJ not to respond with rocket fire.

But Batsch denied that his group would avoid a violent response to the arrest.

“The Palestinian Islamic Jihad can’t sit silent and watch the Israeli crimes, and the spilling of Palestinian blood in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip,” he told the Media Line.

“Our goal is to make the occupation pay for its crimes, and to prove that the Islamic Jihad will keep to its commitment to protect the Palestinian people and the resistance anywhere.”

He added that rival terror group Hamas, which has ruled the coastal enclave since 2006, was not attempting to prevent PIJ from launching a response.

“No one attempts to stop us from using our right to stop the Israeli crimes,” Batsch said.