Israel deployed attack drones and increased its surveillance over the besieged Gaza Strip, fearing retaliation after its arrest of a Palestinian leader earlier this week, Haaretz reported on Thursday.
In an escalation of its 15-year-long siege, Israel shut all crossings into Gaza on Tuesday after it arrested Bassam al-Saadi, a senior member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
The shutdown has stopped the transport of goods and aid into Gaza and prevented workers from crossing into Israel.
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) August 3, 2022
Gaza’s only power plant is also at risk of imminent shutdown as the trucks that supply it with fuel cannot cross.
Saadi was arrested Monday in an Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, during which a Palestinian teenager was killed.
After the arrest, the PIJ sounded full alert among its fighters – implying a threat of imminent retaliation – after footage circulating on Israeli media appeared to show Saadi may have been injured during his arrest.
Will hell break loose? Israelis close roads near Gaza following their capture of Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Bassam al-Saadi, assault on his wife, and murder of a teen in Jenin. https://t.co/WOzX0usMYI
— Sharmine Narwani (@snarwani) August 2, 2022
Senior security officials told Haaretz they believe Israel underestimated the possible implications al-Saadi’s arrest could have on the situation on the Israel-Gaza border.
Immediate de-escalation appears unlikely, with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid saying Thursday that Israel “will not shy away from using force to restore normal life in the south of the country, and we will not stop the policy of arresting terrorist operatives in Israel”.
(The New Arab, PC, SOCIAL)