Islamic Jihad: We are not halting Kassam attacks

Arab newspapers reported that an agreement to halt rocket fire had been reached between Islamic Jihad and Abbas.

islamic jihad 298.88 (photo credit: )
islamic jihad 298.88
(photo credit: )
Islamic Jihad denied reports Wednesday that it had agreed to halt rocket attacks on Israel. Reports in some Arab newspapers claimed earlier that the Islamist organization had reached an agreement with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to stop the Kassam attacks. Nafez Azzam, a top Islamic Jihad official in the Gaza Strip, said he was unaware of such an agreement. "Islamic Jihad did not convey any message to this effect to President Abbas," he said. "We will not agree to any truce without getting something in return." Muhammad al-Harazeen, another Islamic Jihad official, said former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei met recently in Damascus with the organization's leader, Ramadan Shalah. He said the talks focused on ways of including Islamic Jihad in the PLO, denying that the two had discussed the rockets issue. Also on Wednesday, Hamas leaders issued threats against Israel. Khalil Hayeh, a senior Hamas political official in the Gaza Strip, said his movement would never "abandon the path of resistance and jihad." Even if every Hamas leader were killed, Hamas would not change its position, he said. "Hamas's strategy is based on the fact that resistance is the only way to liberate Palestine, from the river to the sea," he added. Hayeh strongly condemned security meetings between PA and Israeli officials, saying they were designed to "contain the resistance and drive the Palestinians toward despair." Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen blew up a car early Wednesday that belonged to the owner of the well-known Roots restaurant in the Gaza Strip. No one was injured, but the car was completely destroyed. The restaurant is a favorite meeting place for senior Palestinian Authority officials, foreign diplomats and aid workers based in the Strip. The restaurant is owned by businesswoman Muna Al-Ghalayini. Sources in Gaza said the attack was apparently carried out by members of a group with close links to al-Qaida. They said the elegant restaurant, which does not serve alcohol, has angered Muslim extremists because of its Western-style atmosphere. The explosion came hours after masked gunmen blew up two music and cellular phone shops in Khan Yunis. The latest attacks come despite efforts by the new PA government to impose law and order in Gaza. On Saturday, the government approved a security plan designed to end the state of lawlessness there. The plan, which will be implemented over a period of 100 days, calls, among other things, for deploying thousands of policemen on the streets, banning citizens from carrying weapons in public and creating a new security force. PA officials in Gaza City said they were skeptical that the plan would change things. "The situation is very complicated," said one official. "There are too many militias on the streets. The problem is that the security forces are also responsible for the anarchy."