Israel closes Gaza border as fears mount of Palestinian violence following Islamic Jihad arrest

Trains and roads close to the border with Gaza have also been closed to Israelis


Israeli soldiers block roads near the border with the Gaza Strip on August 3, 2022. Photo by Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ?????? ????? ??? ???????? ????? ????? ?????

The Israeli Defence Force is ramping up troop presence near Gaza and taking several precautionary measures in anticipation of retaliatory violence following the arrest of an Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin.

IDF reservists have been called up and air defenses in the south of the country have been put on high alert as security services warn of an increased risk of violence from the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The fears of violence come after the leader of the group in the West Bank, Bassem Saadi was arrested by Israeli troops in the city of Jenin earlier this week.

In a statement, the Israeli security agency Shin Bet said that Saadi was working "to restore PIJ activities ...[and was] behind the creation of a significant military force of the organization in Samaria in general and in Jenin in particular.”

“His presence was a significant factor in the radicalization of the organization’s operatives in the field,” the Shin Bet added.

Shin Bet and the IDF confirmed that two men were taken into custody in one of a number of raids carried out in the early hours of August 1, which saw 13 wanted Palestinians arrested.

In response to the raids, Islamic Jihad Gaza said they were preparing to strike back at Israel and were "readying" their fighters for a response.

After the threats from the terror group, the Israeli army announced that several highways and train lines close to Gaza would be closed as a precautionary measure due to “a direct threat of a possible attack on Israeli civilians."

Pedestrians were also banned from crossing between Gaza and Israel at the Erez border crossing, the only checkpoint between Israel and the territory which is used by thousands of Palestinian workers every day.

Israeli Defence Forces radio station Galatz tweeted a map of areas shut by the army showing that several main highways running parallel to the Gaza strip had been closed off.

Regional councils in the affected areas sent a message on Tuesday night to residents saying that the closures would remain enforced until the IDF deemed it safe.

According to the Times of Israel, Egyptian conflict moderators have been sent into Gaza in an attempt to negotiate with Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Israeli broadcaster Channel 12 also reported that Israeli officials sent a message via the Egyptian delegation from the government that the IDF has no interest in a new conflict but would respond to any attacks on its citizens.

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