Islamic Jihad Leader Warns of War with Israel within Year
Ziad al-Nahala, secretary-general of the Iran-backed, Gaza Strip-based Islamic Jihad, told Lebanese television he expected war to break out with Israel within a year, describing the most recent escalation as “just preparation for the greater battle.” Israel and Gaza-based terrorists this past week reached a tentative – and fragile – cease-fire agreement to end 48 hours of the fiercest fighting since the 50-day conflict in 2014. “The resistance in Gaza is fully prepared for any war,” Nahala asserted, adding that when this week’s truce was forged, Islamic Jihad was preparing to launch rockets at Tel Aviv. He also stressed that the Hamas-initiated March of Return protests – staged each Friday along the Gaza-Israel border for over 13 months – would continue unabated, and that the cease-fire would be tested this week as Palestinians geared up to mark Nakba Day, the “catastrophe” of Israel’s creation, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians either fled or were driven out during the ensuing war. Last weekend, Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired some 700 rockets toward Israel, which responded by striking over 300 targets in the Palestinian enclave. Four Israelis and 30 Palestinians were killed. Qatar has now pledged about $180 million to the Gaza Strip for humanitarian and infrastructure projects, while Hamas announced payments of $1,000 to each of the approximately 100 families who lost their homes in the conflagration.