The IDF arrested an Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank early Monday morning, an IDF spokesperson said in a statement. An Israeli security source named the leader as Tariq Qa’adan and said he was arrested for his “activities” in Islamic Jihad. When asked if Qa’adan was involved in militant activities, the security source said “Islamic Jihad is a terrorist organization and any action within the framework of the organization is forbidden.” In addition to Israel, the US considers Islamic Jihad to be a terrorist group. Islamic Jihad slammed Israel for arresting Qa’adan. “This unjust arrest of the leader Qa’adan is a part of the occupation’s latest escalation against Islamic Jihad and our people,” Islamic Jihad said in statement, according to Palestine Today, a news site linked to the group.Qa’adan was held under administrative detention by Israel in 2013, but was ultimately set free after carrying out a three-month long hunger strike. Qa’adan’s arrest on Monday came a day after Islamic Jihad called Israeli threats against its leadership “a declaration of war.” “Threats to target the movement’s leadership is a declaration of war, which we will confront,” Islamic Jihad said on Sunday, according to Palestine Today.
On Saturday, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who oversees the branch of the Defense Ministry responsible for liaising with the Palestinians on civil and security issues, warned Islamic Jihad against responding to Israel’s demolition of a tunnel in late October that was dug into Israeli territory from Gaza. Ten members of the group died in the tunnel. During the 2014 Gaza War, Islamic Jihad and Hamas operatives used cross-border tunnels to carry out attacks against Israel.Speaking in a video posted on Facebook, Mordechai said Islamic Jihad’s leaders in Damascus, Ramadan Shalah and Ziad Nakhala, would bear responsibility for any response Islamic Jihad undertakes against Israel. Over the past week, Gaza-based Islamic Jihad Khaled al-Batsh said in a multiple statements to the press that the al-Quds Brigade, Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, would choose the “appropriate time” and place to respond to Israel’s destruction of the trans-border tunnel.
View from Gaza as IDF blows up Hamas tunnel reaching into Israeli territory, October 30, 2017. (Courtesy)