An Islamic Jihad militant attends an anti-Israel rally in Rafah..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Amid increasing tensions between Israel and Islamic Jihad, the militant group has raised its state of readiness to its 'highest level,' according to a report in the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat.
Senior sources in the Gaza-based militant group stated that, should Islamic Jihad choose to act against Israel, any action would be "for purposes of self-defense" and "deterrence."
The group also said that they are "closely monitoring" Israeli activity, including watching civilians in Gaza border communities.
The increased state of readiness comes, according to the report, as the IDF carries out a military exercise near the Gaza Strip.
Propaganda video by Islamic Jihad in Gaza against Israel, November 2, 2017.
Amid the war of words, the IDF moved its Iron Dome missile defense systems to the center of the country on Monday.
Recent tensions come after repeated threats exchanged between the IDF and Islamic Jihad, after the IDF destroyed an Islamic Jihad-constructed tunnel
in late October, killing 12 Palestinian militants.
The event was considered by Islamic Jihad to be "a declaration of war" by Israel, and stated "it is our right to respond to any aggression, including the right to respond to the crime of attacking the tunnel east of Dir al-Balah, where 12 Mujahideen from Al-Qassam and Saraya al-Quds fell."
On Tuesday morning, US special envoy Jason Greenblatt warned Islamic Jihad to stop its threatening rhetoric.
“Extremist statements & provocation vs. Israel by Islamic Jihad significantly harm the people of Gaza & are very dangerous," wrote Greenblatt on Twitter.
“The PA must resume full responsibility in Gaza. [The] US is working with the PA, Israel, Egypt & others to try to improve the situation. Gaza deserves better."
The IDF arrested Tariq Qa'adan
, an Islamic Jihad leader, in the West Bank early Monday morning due to his "activities" in the group.
The arrest came a day after Islamic Jihad called Israeli threats against its leadership “a declaration of war, which we will confront.”