Israeli security forces are on high alert, especially around the Gaza Strip, after snatching a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader in a gunfight during IDF anti-terror operations in Samaria Monday.
During the action, codenamed “Operation Breakwater” at least one Arab man was killed and a number of others were injured. No Israeli forces were reported hurt.
The arrested man, Bassam al-Sa’adi, is the head of the Judea-Samaria branch PIJ. He was said to be lightly wounded in the action.
The PIJ, the official name of which is the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, is a Damascus-based Islamist terrorist organisation which, together with the Hamas and six other “Palestinian” factions, forms the Alliance of Palestinian Forces.
Hamas is the main controlling group in the Gaza Strip, which it violently seized from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, just over a year after Israel had uprooted its citizens from the strip and handed it over to the PA. The PIJ operates, sometimes uneasily, alongside Hamas in Gaza and also, similarly to Hamas, works to increase its following among the Arabs of Samaria and Judea.
In a statement released Tuesday the PIJ said, “We announced our intention to raise readiness among our fighters and combat units, in response to the aggression against the senior commander Sheikh Bassam al-Sa’adi and his family a short while ago in Jenin.”
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid was slated on Tuesday morning to hold a security assessment with, among others, Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi.