Gaza attack: What is the Palestinian Islamic Jihad? | Explainer News

Israel has repeatedly launched air raids on the Gaza Strip, killing no less than 15 individuals together with a commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad motion who was focused on Friday.

After bombing Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid described the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as “an Iranian proxy that wishes to destroy the state of Israel”.

Whereas it doesn’t have as long-range rockets as Hamas – the group that governs Gaza, PIJ does have a major arsenal of small arms, mortars, rockets and anti-tank missiles, and an lively armed wing referred to as the al-Quds Brigades.

“Islamic Jihad is thought to oppose the peace course of and the negotiation strategy with Israel. It adopts an armed battle in opposition to the Israeli occupation like Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a really shut ally with Iran. Due to the links to Iran, we’re seeing one of many causes of Israel’s assault,” Ibrahim Fraihat from the Doha Institute instructed Al Jazeera.


Palestinian Islamic Jihad was based in 1981 by Palestinian college students in Egypt with the purpose of building a Palestinian state within the occupied West Financial institution, Gaza and different areas of what’s now Israel. Islamic Jihad is the smaller of the 2 predominant Palestinian teams within the Gaza Strip, and is vastly outnumbered by the governing Hamas group.

“Although it’s a small group, Islamic Jihad could be very environment friendly and extremely organised. There’s a robust order throughout the occasion itself,” stated Fraihat. “Regardless of its small dimension, it has participated in all of the confrontations with Israel.”

Commander killed

Palestinian Islamic Jihad has develop into the driving pressure in confrontations with Israeli forces. Friday’s air raids killed Taysir al-Jabari, a senior determine and the commander of the motion’s northern area.

PIJ’s membership is tough to determine with estimates from final yr starting from about 1,000 fighters to a number of thousand, based on the CIA’s World Factbook.

Each Hamas, which has fought 5 wars with Israel since 2009, and PIJ are listed as “terrorist organisations” by the West. Each get funds and weapons from Iran, the place PIJ chief Ziad al-Nakhalah met Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on the day of the assaults.

Not like Hamas, PIJ refuses to hitch elections and seems to haven’t any ambition to type a authorities in Gaza or the West Financial institution.

Coaching and funding

Iran provides Islamic Jihad with coaching, experience and cash, however many of the group’s weapons are domestically produced.

Though its base is Gaza, Islamic Jihad additionally has management in Lebanon and Syria, the place it maintains shut ties with Iranian officers.

The pinnacle of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps stated on Saturday the Palestinians are “not alone” of their combat in opposition to Israel.

“We’re with you on this path till the top, and let Palestine and the Palestinians know that they don’t seem to be alone,” Main-Basic Hossein Salami stated, including Israel “pays one other heavy worth for the current crime”.

Israel assassinating commanders

The Islamic Jihad commander killed by Israeli forces, al-Jabari, changed Bahaa Abu el-Atta who was additionally killed by Israeli forces in a 2019 assault.

El-Atta’s killing was the primary high-profile assassination of an Islamic Jihad determine by Israeli forces for the reason that 2014 warfare within the Gaza Strip.

Al-Jabari, 50, was a member of Islamic Jihad’s “army council”, the group’s decision-making physique in Gaza.

He was accountable for the Islamic Jihad actions in Gaza Metropolis and the northern Gaza Strip throughout the 2021 assault by Israeli forces, when throughout 11 days of combating no less than 260 individuals have been killed Gaza and 13 in Israel.

West Financial institution presence

Islamic Jihad maintains a major presence within the West Financial institution city of Jenin, the place Bassam al-Saadi, a senior chief of the motion was arrested final week, setting off the disaster.

Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz threatened to focus on leaders of Islamic Jihad dwelling overseas, and Israel stated on Saturday it arrested 19 members of the group within the occupied West Financial institution.

Fraihat described a “warfare in Jenin” over the last 5 months with PIJ instigating assaults inside Israel and Israeli forces raiding town and arresting and killing its members.

“Within the West Financial institution it has a presence, I’d say just like Gaza. However it isn’t concerning the dimension it’s about energy, effectivity, and the flexibility to have interaction militarily in a confrontation with Israel. And for that purpose, Israel is attempting arrest its leaders within the West Financial institution and to include any motion that Islamic Jihad would possibly escalate,” he stated.

Chief’s arrest

Al-Jabari’s killing comes on the heels of the arrest earlier this week by Israeli forces of Bassam al-Saadi, 62. Al-Saadi spent 15 years over a number of stints in Israeli jails for being an Islamic Jihad member.

Israel killed two of his sons who have been additionally Islamic Jihad members in separate incidents in 2002, and Israeli forces destroyed his dwelling throughout a fierce battle within the occupied West Financial institution metropolis of Jenin the identical yr.

PIJ’s recreation plan

Islamic Jihad’s chief Ziad al-Nakhalah has promised revenge assaults in opposition to Israel for its lethal bombardment, together with focusing on Tel Aviv and different cities. A collection of explosions was heard and seen on Saturday evening over Tel Aviv.

“The Zionist enemy began this aggression and it should anticipate us to combat continuous … There shall be no truce after this bombing,” al-Nakhalah stated. “There are not any purple strains on this battle … Tel Aviv may even be one of many targets of the resistance’s missiles … as will all Zionist cities.”

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