“More civilians in Gaza have been killed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad rockets than by Israeli strikes”

”As many as a third of the Palestinians who died in the latest outbreak of violence between Israel and militants in Gaza may have been killed by errant rockets fired by the Palestinian side, according to an Israeli military assessment that appears consistent with independent information from The Associated Press,” AP wrote in a tweet last Monday a day after a ceasefire was agreed in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJà with the mediation of Egypt .

“This Associated Press tweet is not intended to justify, minimize or relativize actions or suffering in the ongoing conflict in Gaza,” the news agency added.

”We share this since the ‘backfire’ casualties caused by Islamic Jihad have either been overlooked or understated. We encourage you to watch the video of our briefing yesterday, in hopes of adding perspective on Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli army said 47 Palestinians were killed in the three days of fighting, including at least 14 by rockets fired by Islamic Jihad that were not enough.

No one in Gaza with direct knowledge of the explosions in question would speak about them publicly, the Associated Press said. ”But live television footage showed rockets falling short in densely populated residential areas. And PA visits to the sites of two explosions that killed a total of 12 people confirmed suspicions that they were caused by deflected rockets.

During a live broadcast on August 7, Lebanon Mayadeen TV caught a misfired Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket falling on a Gaza neighborhood. The correspondent can be heard telling the cameraman to avoid the camera.

According to the Associated Press, Hamas imposed and later lifted sweeping restrictions on foreign journalists working in the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the conflict. The restrictions included a ban on coverage of PIJ rocket fire going down in Gaza and causing injuries and deaths, as well as a blanket rule requiring Jerusalem to be blamed for the latest escalation, according to the report.

The violence began Friday, when Israel launched a wave of preemptive airstrikes against Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Gaza Strip’s second-largest terror group, over what the IDF described as an imminent threat to civilians. Israelis living near the Gaza border. A senior PIJ commander was killed along with several of their agents who were planning the attack. We have seen that this threat was imminent. This is why on Friday afternoon (August 5), we carried out preemptive strikes against those specific people who planned this attack on our civilians,’ an Israeli official said.

”The operation had two main objectives: defensive, to protect the citizens of Israel from the barrage of rockets and offensive: to damage the PIJ’s military capabilities through strikes with precise guided weapons targeting weapons warehouses, launchers rockets and production facilities.” ‘It is the fundamental duty of a country to prevent such attacks and to protect its citizens.’

By the time a ceasefire came into effect on Sunday overnight, the PIJ, an Iranian-backed and funded terror group, fired 1,170 rockets and mortars into southern and central Israel from Gaza, and Israeli aircraft struck dozens of suspected terror targets. “Of the total number of rockets fired, 20% of them or 180 to be precise, landed in the Gaza Strip, causing casualties among the population,” the Israeli official said. According to him, more civilians in Gaza have been killed by PIJ rockets than by Israeli strikes.

Israel claimed victory partly because it killed two senior PIJ commanders and because no Israelis were killed or seriously injured.

The Iron Dome system intercepted 97% of the rockets launched by the terrorist group.

Airstrikes also damaged PIJ capabilities, destroying rocket launchers and their production facilities. ”We have damaged the PIJ’s military capabilities with minimal collateral damage and limited civilian casualties. Every civilian casualty is a tragedy and has been investigated. We did everything we could to avoid them, but there have been rocket fire from schoolyards or apartments and it is almost impossible not to cause damage,” the official said.

He noted that, as shown in a video posted on social media, several airstrikes against PIJ commanders were delayed when the IDF discovered the presence of a single civilian near the target (see video below). ).

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad is an organization older than the other terrorist group, Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. “It’s a very radical and dangerous organization that has no aspirations to become the ruler of a Palestinian territory, unlike Hamas,” said Kobi Michael, a senior fellow at the Institute for Security Studies. (INSS) in Tel Aviv, during an online briefing for journalists organized by Europe Israel Press Association on Monday. “Their sole purpose, their ‘raison d’être,’ is to lead armed resistance against Israel.”

For the past decade, he has become a pure proxy for Iran. PIJ leader Ziyad Nakhalah was (and still is) in Tehran during the three-day Israeli operation against the group. Although a Sunni group, Iran’s Shiite theocracy uses them (along with Gaza’s other Sunni group, Hamas) as tools to destabilize the Middle East and attack Israel.

Despite these similarities, it is important to highlight the differences between the two groups: Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since seizing power 15 years ago after a military coup in which dozens of Palestinians from Fatah were killed, is also a terrorist organization but also a political, social and religious movement. Its immediate objective is to defeat Fatah and take control of the Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank. The PIJ has no such aspirations and rather fits the traditional pattern of a terrorist organization. It was founded in the early 80s while Hamas was created later. In recent years, in the wake of the weakness of the Palestinian Authority, the PIJ has grown stronger in the West Bank – especially in the northern part – and has been responsible for a wave of terrorist attacks against Israelis.

According to Kobi Michael, the reason for the high failure rate in launching the rockets is that “the PIJ’s technical capacity is much lower than that of Hamas or Hezbollah.” “The rockets they produce are of poor quality,” he said. “Those that have reached distances of 80 to 100 kilometers in Israeli territory were not made by the PIJ but are of Iranian manufacture and were introduced to Gaza through the Sinai and sea routes,” he said. added.

Hamas, which is the main organization controlling Gaza, remained on the sidelines of the conflict and did not actively participate in it. “It’s a strong sign of how much they understood that this was the result of PIJ decisions that were bad for the Palestinian people in Gaza. This is why we expect Hamas to control Gaza and exercise much tighter control over Islamic Jihad. We expect Hamas, although it wants to continue to enjoy the prosperity it enjoyed last year, with more than 40,000 Palestinian workers traveling to Israel every day, to ensure that the situation Gaza remains calm and stable and there is no threat to Israeli civilians across the border,” the Israeli official stressed.

A day after the ceasefire came into effect, Israel reopened the Keren Shalom commercial crossing between Israel and Gaza to allow trucks carrying fuel and other vital goods to enter the strip. “We went to improve the lives of the 2 million people living in Gaza in many ways, water, electricity, sewage, but also allowing an increasing number of Palestinians from Gaza to enter Israel to work,” the Israeli official said. . “I want to emphasize how complicated it is since Hamas, which controls Gaza, continually calls on the Palestinians to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel. But at the same time, people are going to Israel to do various jobs. Although each of them is security checked, there is a potential risk that they have malicious intentions. »

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