Egyptian Mediators Attempt to De-escalate Security Tensions With Islamic Jihad Leaders

Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas in Gaza, delivers a speech during a meeting at a hall on the seaside of Gaza City, Saturday, April 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Egyptian mediators held talks yesterday to de-escalate the security tensions following the arrest of Bassem Saadi, the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s operations, late Monday night.

A Palestinian official told Yisrael Hayom that the mediators were focusing their efforts on PIJ’s leadership in Lebanon. It appears the terrorist organization will struggle to restrain itself in the wake of Saadi’s arrest, which it views as a humiliation. Hamas still has not announced its willingness for military confrontation with Israel, but also cannot completely prohibit PIJ from acting in “resistance” against Israel.

Israeli security officials on Tuesday said they had already detected indications that Hamas was dissatisfied with PIJ’s intention to respond to Saadi’s arrest.

Israel conveyed harsh messages to the Egyptian mediators about a possible response from PIJ, and defense officials said they believed those messages were sufficiently internalized by Hamas.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited the IDF’s Yehudah and Shomron Division on Tuesday with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

“The policy is clear: Whoever wants to live and work in good neighborliness, will receive an outstretched hand. On the other hand, we will target anyone and any terrorist who seeks to harm the citizens of Israel,” Gantz said.

“Any threat against the citizens of Israel will be met with a powerful response, and we are prepared for any scenario. We are also progressing with the construction of the seam zone barrier to protect the civilian home front, and we are expanding economic networks with the Palestinians in the shared interest of prosperity and stability,” he added.

A source in Gaza told Yisrael Hayom that “Hamas does not want a large escalation, even though no one knows how things will unfold. PIJ has a larger motive for trying to exact revenge.”

The IDF closed all major roads and areas adjacent to the Israel-Gaza border, including Highways 4 and 232, and Route 34. The Erez crossing was also shuttered, as was the Zikim beach.

In line with the military’s measures, Israel Railways announced it was halting train services between the southern towns of Ashkelon and Netivot, as well as Sderot.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!