Weeks after deadly tunnel attack, Israel and Islamic Jihad exchange threats

Report Islamic Jihad raises state of readiness to 'highest level'

Report Islamic Jihad raises state of readiness to 'highest level'

The Israeli army has deployed anti-rocket batteries of its "Iron Dome" air defense system at key points in the country to guard against retaliation by the Palestinian group, Israeli media reported late Monday.

That deployment was due to estimates by Israeli defense officials that Islamic Jihad is planning a major terror attack against Israel in the wake of the IDF's recent demolition of a terror tunnel that ran under Israeli territory, in which a dozen of the group's top terrorists were killed.

The group said it would not back down on its "right" to retaliate against Israel for the tunnel explosion, which led to the deaths of 12 of its members, including two commanders, as well as two members of Hamas's military wing.

President Donald Trump's Special Representative for International Negotiations lashed out against the Islamic Jihad terror group for the threats they have recently made against Israel.

For its part Hamas has said that "the courageous resistance will always continue to be ready".

In a message in Arabic published on Saturday, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) head Maj. -Gen. Yoav "Poly" Mordechai.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Gaza-based Palestinian terror groups not to attack Israel. The group realizes that by taking action against Israel it was likely to elicit an Israeli response - which would, among other things, nearly certainly destroy the nascent reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

The batteries are one of several measures taken by the army to raise its alert level and response capabilities amid heightened tensions with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization since the army demolished the terrorist group's border-crossing attack tunnel last month.

They, however, say the tunnels are needed to transfer essential supplies, including food and fuel, into the Palestinian territory, which has been under a crippling Israeli siege for over a decade. However, despite Hamas' inflammatory rhetoric against Israel, the movement has not officially claimed responsibility for any military action from Gaza against Israel since the 2014 war.

While the IDF is confident that no tunnel will be able to cross the underground barrier, there remains a large amount of construction on the barrier which has not yet begun, including the area where the tunnel was located near the community of Kissufim.

The army said later that killing the terrorists was not the primary objective of the tunnel demolition.

In October, Hamas and Fatah - Palestine's two main political factions - signed a landmark reconciliation agreement in Cairo aimed at ending 10 years of bitter division.

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