Saturday, May 28th | 27 Iyyar 5782

April 4, 2022 1:54 pm

Hamas Prevented Islamic Jihad From Firing Rockets at Israel to Avoid Escalation: Report

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A terrorist attends the funeral of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad gunman, who was killed by Israeli forces, in Jenin in the West Bank March 1, 2022. Photo: Reuters/Raneen Sawafta

Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip, recently prevented the enclave’s second-largest armed faction from firing rockets at Israel in a bid to avert an escalation in hostilities, Israeli media reported Monday.

Hamas intervened after three Palestinian Islamic Jihad members were killed while opening fire on an Israeli security team that sought to arrest them in the West Bank, according to public broadcaster Kan.

Unnamed Palestinian sources cited by the outlet said Hamas made it clear to PIJ that it does not want another round of fighting with Israel at this time.

Hamas seeks to retain control of Gaza and appears to want any renewed fighting with Israel to take place on its own terms, Kan observed. The terrorist group is reportedly focusing on Jerusalem, where the situation is extremely tense due to the Ramadan holiday and a series of terrorist attacks in Israel that killed 11 people in the past two weeks.

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Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz likewise said on Sunday that “Hamas doesn’t want escalation.”

“We’re assuming there could be escalation, but the residents in Gaza — including Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad — need to choose what kind of Ramadan they want,” he told Yedioth Ahronoth.

“If there will be action against Israel from the strip, Gaza will feel the kind of pain that I suggest it spares from itself,” he added. “They’re familiar with our abilities, with all our resources. If they release the gunlock, we’ll come crashing down on them.”

Last week, the leader of the Iranian proxy group Hezbollah met in Beirut with the secretary-general of PIJ, which is also backed by Tehran.

According to a communique published after the talks, the pair discussed “the latest situations in the Palestinian arena, the development of the jihadist operations within the territories occupied in 1948 [Israel], and the operations that took place over the past days,” referring to the spate of terrorist attacks.

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