Islamic Jihad leader: ‘War with Israel this summer’

In an interview with Arab TV, the leader boasted that his organization was only hours away from hitting Tel Aviv.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Ziad al-Nahala, secretary-general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza, told an Arab TV station Tuesday that he expects war with Israel this coming summer.

Speaking to Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen channel the day after his group and Hamas launched a 41-hour barrage of nearly 700 missiles at Israel, the terrorist leader also said that if a ceasefire hadn’t been reached in the early hours of Monday morning, “we would have soon shot at Tel Aviv.”

This round had been “just preparation for the greater battle” and “the resistance in Gaza is fully prepared for any war,” he added.

PIJ is considered a full-fledged Iranian proxy, getting major funding from Tehran. It is the second-largest terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip, but has far fewer members in comparison to Hamas, which governs the coastal enclave with an iron fist.

The two are usually rivals, as Hamas is a Sunni-Islamist fundamentalist group, while PIJ, like their patrons, are Shia Moslems.

In the interview, however, al-Nahala said the organizations had been fully in sync regarding this weekend’s outbreak of missile barrages, which were launched by both terrorist groups.

“We were with Hamas in Cairo and we made a joint decision to activate the Joint Operations Room to respond to the aggression of the occupation,” he said.

Both Hamas and the PIJ have made it clear that they felt they were victorious after this latest round with Israel, even though the IDF hit over 350 targets that included high-quality military installations and the assassination of Hamas’ Iranian liaison who was in charge of transferring money to the different terror factions in Gaza.

“The Palestinian resistance groups succeeded in deterring Israel and forcing it to implement the Egyptian-brokered understandings,” said PIJ spokesman Musab al-Braim.

According to the two groups, the ceasefire agreement calls for Israel to refrain from firing at rioters on the Gaza-Israel border, although two IDF soldiers were recently shot by a sniper hiding among the rioters.

According to Israel, however, Hamas agreed to distance demonstrators from the fence.

This Friday will be a major test of the agreement, when Palestinians commemorate the Naqba, or “disaster,” referring to Israel’s establishment in 1948.

Widespread protests are expected.