The IDF upped its alertness on Monday, after already issung a statement on on Sunday, warning that the Iran-backed terror group in Gaza, Islamic Jihad, is planning to retaliate for the IDF's blasting of the group's terror tunnel in late October, killing 14 terrorists belonging to Islamic Jihad and Hamas. As part of this move, the IDF rolled out the Iron Dome defense system for the center of Israel.
Two weeks after Israel blew up the tunnel, which had penetrated into its territory from Gaza, Israel promised on Sunday to respond to any revenge attack with “power and determination.”
Earlier the same day, a senior Islamic Jihad official in Gaza, Khaled al-Batash, said his terror organization will have no other choice to “punish” Israel for killing its members.
“Israel has killed 12 Palestinians in Gaza and another one in the West (Bank) over the last two weeks (…) When they kill men of the resistance, and especially from Islamic Jihad, we have no other choice but to punish the occupier, and continue to strengthen the buildup of forces from a conflict,” al-Batash said.
Among those killed were senior commanders of terror groups while another 11 were wounded in the explosions.
Warning Islamic Jihad in Arabic that it is “playing with fire” in a video uploaded on Saturday night, Maj. Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai stressed that Israel would respond to any attack against the group itself and Hamas. “We will respond with force against Hamas,” Mordechai said.
“Israel exploded a terror tunnel two weeks ago inside its territory under the sovereignty of the State of Israel. We are aware of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's plot that is being formed against Israel,” he said in Arabic.
“It is playing with fire at the expense of the residents of the Gaza Strip, at the expense of the Palestinian reconciliation agreements and the entire region.
"It should be clear: any response by Islamic Jihad, whatever it may be, will be responded to by Israel with power and determination, not only against Islamic Jihad but also against Hamas. We advise the Islamic Jihad leadership in Damascus to be careful and get things under control,” he continued.
“Leaders of Islamic Jihad in Damascus—Ramadan Shalah Ziad Nakhaleh—get your hands around this quickly because you are the ones who will be held responsible.”
Islamic Jihad, for its part, said on Sunday that the Mordechai's promise to target its leadership in the event of any “revenge attacks” launched against Israel is tantamount to “a declaration of war.”
“We will not weaken the the leadership of our people and of our land. The threat by the enemy to harm the leadership is on the border of a declaration of war and we will deal with them,” the organization said in a statement.