Palestinian factions raised their level of alert in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon on Wednesday and warned Israel against conducting targeted assassinations a day after the Prime Minister's Office said the security cabinet had decided to "attack terrorists and those dispatching them."
Sources in the factions told al-Araby al-Jadeed on Wednesday that the leadership of the factions in Gaza and abroad has taken "unprecedented" security measures amid concerns that they could be targeted by Israel.
The factions are taking recent threats by Israeli officials "seriously," according to the report, with the factions in Gaza evacuating their main positions due to the concerns. The sources added that a heightened presence of reconnaissance drones has been noticed above Gaza.
The Lebanese al-Akhbar newspaper also reported that the factions have taken "strict security measures" amid concerns that Israel will carry out an operation similar to Operation Shield and Arrow in May, in which a number of high-ranking members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were assassinated.
A source in the factions told al-Akhbar that the factions' response to any assassination "will be greater than the expectation of the occupation, which will be surprised by its method and size," adding that "such a step may lead to a major escalation that will affect the various fronts on which the resistance can work."
The source stated that the Israeli government is trying to create a scenario in which attacks in the West Bank will garner a response on other fronts, warning that the factions "will not allow the occupation to change the rules of engagement in the Gaza Strip or outside it."
Security cabinet says approval given to attack terrorists and those who dispatch them
On Tuesday, the Israeli security cabinet convened a meeting that was originally scheduled for early September but was moved forward to Tuesday after deadly terrorist attacks in Huwara and Hebron.
After the cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister's Office stated that the cabinet "made a series of decisions to attack terrorists and those who dispatch them and authorized the prime minister and the defense minister to act on the matter."
Additionally on Tuesday, a source in Hamas told al-Jazeera that the terrorists behind the shooting attack in Hebron in which Batsheva Nigri was murdered were members of Hamas. Two Palestinians suspected of conducting the attack were arrested by Israeli forces on Tuesday morning in Hebron.
Islamic Jihad officials arrested in West Bank overnight
The IDF, Border Police, and Shin Bet arrested 19 Palestinians throughout the West Bank on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit.
In Silat ad-Dhahr, south of Jenin, Israeli forces arrested Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Maher al-Akhras, according to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Immediately after being arrested, al-Akhras announced that he was starting a hunger strike.
Al-Akhras has been arrested in the past and in 2020 launched a 103-day hunger strike while being held in Israeli custody. During his hunger strike in 2020, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement announced a general call-up of its forces.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad official Sadiq Abu al-Khair was also arrested by Israeli forces in Silat al-Harithiya, northwest of Jenin, early Wednesday morning, according to Palestinian reports.
On Wednesday, Jamil Alyan, the official responsible for prisoners in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, warned that the arrest of al-Akhras and other members of the movement would be "a curse" for Israel and would only lead to more attacks.