Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza City 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
Two senior Islamic Jihad officials left the Gaza Strip on Thursday for talks
with the group’s leaders in Syria about the latest wave of violence, sources
close to the group said.
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The officials may also visit Cairo for talks
with Egyptian officials on ways of preventing a further
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Egyptian authorities have appealed to Hamas and other
Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to work toward calming the situation “so
as not to give Israel an excuse to launch a massive military
The visit comes amid statements by Islamic Jihad leaders to
the effect that they are prepared to honor an unofficial cease-fire with
The two officials, Muhammad al-Hindi and Nafez Azzam, are
expected to meet with Islamic Jihad Secretary- General Ramadan Shallah and
representatives of other Damascus-based Palestinian groups, the sources
The visit follows a phone conversation between Hamas Prime Minister
Ismail Haniyeh and Shallah.
According to a Hamas official, Haniyeh urged
the Islamic Jihad leader to order his group to stop firing rockets and mortars
at Israel to avoid an all-out confrontation in the Gaza Strip.
Islamic Jihad leader in the Gaza Strip, Khaled al-Batsh, announced that his
group was prepared to stop its attacks if Israel also halted its retaliatory
Khader Habib, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, also indicated his
group’s willingness to return to the “period of calm” if Israel stopped its
“The question of whether to escalate the resistance is dependent
on developments on the ground,” Habib said.
“As long as there is an
aggression, we can’t stand by and do nothing.”
He added that “calm would
be met with calm.”
In a related development, Palestinian Authority
security forces on Thursday released two top Islamic Jihad figures who were
arrested a day earlier in Jenin.
The two, Tareq Ka’dan and Khaled
Jaradat, were arrested from their homes shortly after the bomb explosion in
Jerusalem that killed a woman and injured dozens of others.
had welcomed the bombing, but stopped short of claiming credit for it.
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