By Jim Kouri
The terrorist group Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, Saraya al-Quds, on Saturday admitted they fired two long-range Russian-made Grad rockets from the Gaza Strip at central Israel. It’s believed the rockets smuggled into Gaza originated in Iran, according to a U.S. intelligence source.
The Islamic Jihad Movement is a small Palestinian terrorist organization.The group has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, and other countries. Their stated goal is the destruction of the state of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian Islamic state.
It was created after some members of the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood stated that the organization did not commit enough effort to prevent Israel from occupying Palestinian territories. The PIJ worked in Gaza until it had to escape to Lebanon in 1987. During that time the group was able to receive support from Hezbollah and ultimately developed a close relationship with that Iranian-backed terrorist group.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad is currently based in the Syrian capital of Damascus, but there are also headquarters in Beirut, Tehran and Khartoum.
In a statement by mobile phone to reporters covering the unrest in Gaza, the group claimed the rocket attack was a response to an earlier killing of five of its terrorists by Israeli security forces. Earlier Saturday, Israeli jets struck a training post of Islamic Jihad in the town of Rafah in southern Gaza, killing five of its militants and critically wounding another three.
According to a Law Enforcement Examiner source in Israel, this morning the ‘Iron Dome’ Missile Defense System successfully intercepted two Grad missiles heading for the cities of Ashdod and Telmei Echiel.
The last escalation of violence between Israel and Gaza militant groups was in late August, when around 30 Palestinians and two Israelis were killed. A truce mediated by Egypt was then reached between the two sides.
Following the aerial attack on the Jihad training base, the group threatened Israelis saying that the terrorists’ response to the killing of the five members of Islamic Jihad would be strong.
Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip launched rounds of retaliatory attacks against each other on Saturday, leaving seven Palestinians killed and several from both sides wounded.
Five militants belonging to the Islamic Jihad (Holy War) movement’s armed wing Al-Quds Brigades were killed and another three were critically injured Saturday afternoon, when Israel launched an airstrike on a Jihad training post in the Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip.
Those killed in the airstrike included Ahmed al-Sheikh Khalil, a senior member who headed the group’s rocket engineering team.
At least two other Al-Quds Brigades members were killed Saturday night during a second Israeli air raid on the Islamic Jihad’s training center in Rafah.