Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s rocket barrages on Israel trace back to 'Iran's regional tentacles,' experts say

The world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism – the Islamic Republic of Iran – is behind Palestinian Islamic Jihad's firing of over 600 rockets at communities in Israel over the weekend, according to top military experts. 

Brig. Gen. (res.) Amir Avivi, a former deputy commander of the Israel Defense Forces’ Gaza Division, told Fox News Digital that there is "more than a slight possibility that Iran ordered [PIJ attacks] or it was supported by Iran."

Israel launched a preemptive mission—Operation Breaking Dawn—on Friday to stop "PIJ from firing anti-tank missiles from northern Gaza into Israel," said Avivi.

Avivi stressed the importance of connecting the dots between Iran’s regime and its proxies in the region. "It was no accident that the PIJ [attacks] happened as the secretary-general of PIJ, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, was meeting with [the Islamic Republic’s President Ebrahim] Raisi in Iran."

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Raisi, who was sanctioned by the Trump administration for his role in the massacre of Iranian dissidents and protestors, said regarding the current violence that Israel has "once again showed its occupying and aggressive nature to the world."

Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was quoted by the Sepah News website as saying on Saturday: "Today, all the anti-Zionist jihadi capabilities are on the scene in a united formation working to liberate Jerusalem and uphold the rights of the Palestinian people."

The Trump administration designated the IRGC a foreign terrorist organization. The IRGC and its militias in the Middle East are responsible for the murder of over 600 American service personnel.

Avivi said that he sees a connection among Iran’s aggressive posture at the nuclear talks in Vienna; the hostile statements of the pro-Iran regime leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, against a Lebanon-Israel maritime deal; and the PIJ jingoism.

"This is an indication of Iran’s regional tentacles and how dangerous they are and how they can destabilize the area. Israel needs to remain strong and resolute to deter Iran’s advance," Avivi said.

Both Republican and Democratic administrations have classified Iran’s regime as the world’s worst state-sponsor of terrorism.

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"As the nuclear negotiations were going on in Vienna, PIJ’s leader was meeting with the Iranian president, the head of the IRGC and others in Tehran, taking orders for terrorist attacks against Israel," Col. (ret.) Richard Kemp, who commanded the British troops in Afghanistan, told Fox News Digital. "PIJ is an Iranian proxy and is funded by Iran to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Instead of discussing sanctions relief and normalization with Iran, the West should be doing everything it can to cut off the cash flow to all its terrorist proxies."

If, as the Biden White House desires, a renewed nuclear deal is reached, the administration is slated, according to media reports, to deliver over $100 billion to the Islamic Republic as part of sanctions relief in exchange for temporary restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

The theocratic state declared last week that it can develop atomic weapons. 

Kemp continued, "The scandal of the negotiations with Iran is summed up by the fact that the representative of Russia, which is assaulting Ukraine while threatening the world with nuclear attack, and the representative of Iran, whose proxy is viciously attacking Israel, have been meeting with British, EU and other world powers, with American endorsement, as though none of this is happening. Such immoral behavior might be excusable if these negotiations could lead to prevention of Iran’s nuclear capability. But even in the best case they can only achieve the opposite: paving the way to Iran becoming a legitimate nuclear armed state while also enabling Iranian terrorist aggression across the region."

"The decision making of the PIJ changed and deviated from the rules of engagement," Avivi, who serves as the CEO of the Israel Defense and Security Forum, said. "The IDF did not really do anything different. The IDF has [long] been conducting arrests [of terrorists] in Judea of Samaria."

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Based on IDF intelligence, the Islamic Jihad deviated from the standard rules of engagement because it was set to fire anti-tank missiles into Israel. "This was the first time that PIJ planned to take action [in reaction] to something that happened in Judea and Samaria," a reference to Israel’s arrest of the head of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank last Monday.

The former British commander, Kemp, said Israel’s attack to knock out the PIJ leadership is justified.

"Israel had no choice other than to launch a preemptive strike against PIJ to prevent an imminent lethal attack on Israeli civilians. Their initial military operation and subsequent strikes to stop terrorist rocket fire were lawful, necessary and proportionate. Israel operates within international law at all times, while every rocket launch by PIJ is a double war crime, attacking from behind human shields and firing indiscriminately at civilians," Kemp said.

The IDF on Saturday tweeted video footage of PIJ misfiring missiles into a Palestinian civilian area in the Gaza Strip. "Watch this failed rocket launch which killed children in Gaza," the IDF wrote. "This barrage of rockets was fired by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization in Gaza last night. The rocket in the red circle misfired, killing Palestinian civilians—including children—in Jabaliya in northern Gaza." 

The Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas, which the U.S. and the European Union have designated a terrorist organization. Similarly, the U.S. and EU classify PIJ as a terrorist entity. Iran’s chief strategic partner in Lebanon, Hezbollah, is also a US-designated terrorist organization.

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PIJ rockets on Sunday caused warning sirens to sound for the first time in the current round of violence in the capital of Israel, Jerusalem.

Israel’s government said 450-470 rockets fired by PIJ entered Israel and 120 failed in their mission and crashed into the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s sophisticated Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 97% of the PIJ rockets heading toward civilian population centers.

According to the Eshkol Regional Council, a PIJ missile struck a home in a community under its jurisdiction near the southern Gaza Strip. The family was in a bomb shelter at the time. 

https://www.foxnews.com August 08, 2022 at 12:28AM

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