Israel raises security alert after threats to Islamic Jihad

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Palestinian group says Israel’s threats amount to 'act of war' and condemns Israeli 'escalation'

An Israeli soldier near the border with the Gaza Strip, 13 November (Reuters)
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Tuesday 14 November 2017 3:56 UTC
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Israel deployed anti-rocket systems and raised its security alert on Monday, fearing a retaliatory attack from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, in response to the deadly bombing of Palestinian tunnels in Gaza last month.  

The Israeli attack on 30 October killed 12 Palestinians from Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

General Yoav Mordechai, head of an Israeli defence ministry unit responsible for activities in the Palestinian territories, said in an Arabic-language video distributed late Saturday that Israel "destroyed a terror tunnel in Israeli sovereign territory". But Palestinians say tunnels are used to ease the crippling siege on Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt.

In the video, Mordechai said Israel is aware of Islamic Jihad attack plans, warning the group of a “harsh and determined Israeli response”.

Islamic Jihad possesses dozens of rockets with the range of 40km, Haaretz reported. The Gaza-based group also has presence in the West Bank.

Amid the ongoing implementation of a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Hamas would be held responsible for any attack carried from Gaza.

Israeli forces arrested Islamic Jihad leader Tariq Qaadan from his home in the West Bank on Monday morning.

The group condemned the arrest, calling it the “latest escalation” by occupation forces against its members and the Palestinian people.

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On Sunday, the group said that Israel’s threats against its leaders amount to “an act of war”.

Israel said it is holding the bodies of five Palestinians killed in last month’s tunnel attack in Gaza.

The Israeli military claimed it deployed Iron Dome batteries in central Israel on Monday to intercept any Palestinian rockets.

The Gaza front has been relatively peaceful for Israel since 2014 when more than 2,100 Palestinians and 70 Israelis were killed in a 50-day war.