Photo: Reuters
Armed Islamic Jihad members
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Raei Braunstein
Qassam rocket lands in Sderot
Photo: Raei Braunstein
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov
Collecting rocket duds
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov

Islamic Jihad: We are firing more accurate rockets

More than 60 rockets fired at Israel since supposed ceasefire declared month ago, including three Wednesday night. Islamic Jihad Spokesman Abu Ahmad says in conversation with Ynet that rocket-firing cells aiming at targets, strategic facilities using accurate maps, promises that worst is yet to come: 'Israelis must prepare for upcoming terror attacks'

The Islamic Jihad seemingly didn't receive notice of the ceasefire. From their stand point, the rocket firing will continue.


Their rocket-firing cells are aiming at strategic facilities and threaten to reach longer ranges than they have in the past. Spokesman of Islamic Jihad's military arm, al-Quds Brigades, Abu Ahmad claimed in an interview with Ynet that this is just the beginning. His organization is simultaneously preparing for a wave of suicide attacks to be carried out within Israel.


According to the spokesman, "Only the situation on the ground and the Israeli escalation dictate our response, and not any other sort of calls declarations."


"Our firing is not coincidental. The rocket-firing cells are aiming at targets and strategic facilities on which, or next to which, the rockets land. Even if it doesn't hit it directly, we continue to improve, and recently, the enemy has also admitted this. In recent days, one of our rockets landed in an extremely sensitive strategic facility," said Abu Ahmad.


Since the ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Authority went into effect, more than 60 rockets have been fired into Israel, some in Sderot and some in the western Negev. Some were even aimed at Ashkelon. Some of the rockets landed in the sea or within the Gaza Strip.


"There is no doubt that our firing is not coincidental," said the Islamic Jihad spokesman, "We are working with well-detailed maps, which we mark and aim at regions and facilities in the south. The unit for manufacturing and development in the al-Quds Brigades developed Grad missiles, an upgraded Katyusha called Quds 4, which recently landed for the first time 14 km (about 8.5 miles) from the Gaza Strip.


"The rocket is aimed at the established target. Even when it doesn't hit, we continue to make improvements. The Zionists themselves admitted that the rockets hit a strategic facility," said Abu Ahmad.


And what about their future plans? "We are in advanced stages of working on a rocket with a range of 22 km (about 13.5 miles)," he said.


On Israeli operations

The Islamic Jihad is not worried by the possibility that Israel will embark on a broad operation against the Qassams. "Israel has never needed an excuse to respond in a barbaric fashion against the Palestinian population. Operations such as the Gilad Shalit kidnapping are part of the legitimate struggle against the occupation. The threats don't deter us," continued Abu Ahmad.


When asked if the Islamic Jihad simply ignores Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the spokesman responded, "It is not that we ignore his calls, but from the first moment that talks of a truce started, we were clear and said that every assassination, and every violation of this truce in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip will provoke us to respond, and not just by firing rockets, but by carrying out suicide attacks.


"Israelis must prepare for these attacks in the near future. From the first day of the truce, they assassinated an activist in Jenin. We will continue to respond to the Israeli violations. In reality, the truce collapsed a long time ago, and didn't ever even exist," said Abu Ahmad.


Many in the Palestinian Authority view your massive rocket firing as an attempt to gain political capital and to position yourselves on the Palestinian street as the only organization that is sticking to the armed struggle.


"We don't deny that the Palestinian people need a truce, but there is no doubt that sometimes political considerations dictate the firing, and we don't deny that when it seems as thought the internal conflict on the Palestinian street between the various organizations is about the intensify, we increased firing in order to divert the struggle from the internal arena to its proper place, against the occupation.


"We don't want to destroy any truce, but we are committed to respond to ever Israeli violation. In this context, I reiterate so that it is clear to everyone. There is no such thing as a truce only in Gaza. If there is an arrest or an assassination in the West Bank, we are committed to respond. This division is unacceptable to us," said the Islamic Jihad spokesman.


The Islamic Jihad also isn't particularly bothered by the Egyptian foreign minister's condemnation of the rocket firings as a violation of the truce.


"It is interesting why he didn't condemn the assassinations, that since the so-called truce, 17 people have been killed, including four Islamic Jihad members and three al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades members, and more than 600 people have been arrested. In total, 550 Israeli violations have been listed. Why doesn't he condemn that?" quipped the spokesman.


Israel thinks that the firing is carried out under Syrian and Iranian pressure. What is your response?


"This simply isn't true. Our agenda is Palestinian and calls for fighting the occupation, which murders and destroys. Every firing that we have carried out recently is in response to the Israeli violations, and there is no issue here of demands or pressures from Iran, Syria, or otherwise. It is our natural right," concluded Abu Ahmad.


פרסום ראשון: 12.28.06, 01:21
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