Israel Extends Detention of Islamic Jihad Leader Bassam Saadi

Israeli soldiers blocking roads near the border with the Gaza Strip amid threats of a terror attack, last week. (Flash90)

The Ofer military court on Thursday extended the detention of the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Shomron, Bassam Saadi, for six days, on suspicion of terrorist activities.

The head of the Islamic Jihad, who has served seven terms in an Israeli prison, was arrested a week and a half ago during an Israeli military operation in Jenin.

After his arrest last week, Israel began closing off cities around the Gaza Strip border, fearing retaliation. Then, on Friday, Israel launched a preemptive strike on Gaza, saying it had “concrete” indications of an “imminent” attack, in what became known as Operation Breaking Dawn.

Nearly three days of fighting later, an Egypt-brokered ceasefire agreement was signed, which reportedly included the release of Saadi and another Palestinian detainee, Khalil Awawdeh, according to an Islamic Jihad spokesperson.

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev said shortly after that Israel had no intention of releasing the prisoners early. Defense Minister Benny Gantz noted he was “not familiar with a promise to release terrorists.”

“I don’t want to simply promise they won’t be released. We don’t hold people in prison for nothing,” Gantz told Channel 12 in an interview.

Saadi’s detention was extended until August 16.

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