Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat- Abu-Ahmad, one of the most prominent leading figures in the Al-Quds Brigades, armed wing of the Islamic Jihad in Palestine, and its official spokesman, said it is likely that Israel will carry out assassinations and limited operations in the Gaza Strip, as a natural result of the long continuing incitement against the Gaza Strip. However, he ruled out the possibility of a war similar to that which Israel launched at the end of 2008, even though he said that this option exists.
Abu-Ahmad told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The incitement has long been going on. It was used as a pretext to deliver strikes against the resistance and assassinate some of its cadre members. We believe that any Zionist incitement is not intended merely for the media. Rather, it is coupled with escalation on the ground.”
He added: “It seems that, after his latest media campaigns, especially after the fall of rockets in Ashkelon and some other settlements, the enemy might carry out part of his threats. However, his action will not be of the magnitude of the past war on Gaza. It will be different.”
Abu-Ahmad said: “We expect assassinations, limited incursions, and strikes against specific targets.” He believes that Israel will resort to such action to emerge from its internal crisis that was caused by the issue of the Freedom Flotilla.
The Al-Quds Brigades official noted that the possibility of Israel launching a new war on Gaza and even on what he described as other fronts of resistance and opposition in the region (Lebanon, Syria, and Iran) will remain there. He asserted that the resistance in Gaza, with all its military wings, is much more powerful than it was during the last aggression.
He said: “The resistance benefited a great deal from that period and managed to develop its capabilities in terms of its combat tactics. We currently can deal with any possible aggression in a different way, and our performance will be a lot better than in the past.”
Abu-Ahmad refused to disclose the range of the jihad rockets. He only said: “The resistance has enough [weapons] with which it can hurt the enemy. There is no need to mention distances and numbers.”
Abu-Ahmad denied again that any of the Palestinian resistance factions, including the Islamic Jihad, is closely or distantly connected to the firing of rockets at Eilat and Al-Aqabah. He said: “The Egyptian brothers know this fact very well.”
He went as far as accusing Israel of being behind that attack. He said: “Perhaps, it is the Zionist enemy that stands behind the firing of the rockets. Many military experts support this view. This is especially true because the Zionist enemy levels accusations here and there to justify any aggression that he might carry out against Gaza and its resistance.”
At the same time, however, Abu-Ahmad pointed out that the Al-Quds Brigades operates under a strategy “to keep the conflict with our enemy going on in the heart of the land where he exists and not shift the battle abroad.” On the other hand, Abu-Ahmad welcomed “any Arab or Islamic effort to strike this usurping entity, which forms the center of corruption and violence in the region.”
He said that his movement’s relationship with Egypt “is good in spite of the tension, which coincided with the arrest of some of the brothers in the past months and which ended when all of them were released.” He added: “Our relationship with Egypt cannot be otherwise, given Egypt’s large role in the region, particularly in the Palestinian issue.”
Abu-Ahmad was asked on the nature of the support that Iran extends to the Al-Quds Brigades and on Israeli reports that missiles are made in and smuggle from Iran to the Islamic Jihad and the Hamas Movement. In reply to the question, he said: “We believe that any Zionist report on this issue is part of a campaign of incitement against the Palestinian resistance and the Islamic Republic of Iran at the same time.”
He explained: “Their aim is, on the one hand, to justify any possible aggression against Gaza and, on the other hand, to incite the world against Iran, which is facing a frenzied campaign by the West, namely the United States, in light of the great development in Iran, especially in its peaceful nuclear project.”
He added: “With regard to the aid that we receive from the Islamic Republic, it is mainly financial and given to the families of martyrs and prisoners and charity societies. This aid is absolutely unconditional. It is part of the distinguished Iranian role in the nation’s various issues, given the clear retreat of the official Arab regimes’ role. However, we appreciate the position of the helpless peoples.”
Commenting on the Islamic Jihad’s relationship with Hamas in Gaza, Abu-Ahmad said: “Our relations with all resistance factions are very good. We always try to extend our hand to everyone to achieve the highest level of coordination in all issues that are of concern to our Palestinian people. However, some problems emerge at times, but are dealt with immediately.”
Abu-Ahmad criticized what he described as “wrong practices on the ground” in the Fatah and Hamas movements’ dealing with the people. He said that the continuation of the division “harms our people’s interests and leads to further split and fighting between the sons of the same people.”
In spite of the tight restriction on armed action by the authorities in both Gaza and the West Bank, Abu-Ahmad said that his movement will not waste any opportunity to carry out “martyrdom-seeking operations” from the West Bank even though this is difficult. He attacked “the security coordination between the enemy and the PA security agencies against the resistance.” He said: “The opportunity that we are awaiting might come. When it comes, we will not tarry.”
As regards actions from Gaza, Abu-Ahmad said: “We have not halted our actions in the Gaza strip. The evidence of this fact is that we have carried out many jihadic missions and qualitative operations since the beginning of this year, especially the deception of idiots in an operation to the east of Khan Yunus in which a senior Zionist officer and a soldier were killed.”
He added: “During the same period, seven of our mujahidin were martyred, and we confronted many attempts by the Special Forces to carry out incursions inside the Gaza border.”
Abu-Ahmad explained the nature of his movement’s relationship with the salafi groups in Gaza. He said: “Our stand toward any group is contingent on that group’s declared stand toward the occupation.”
He added: “We take a positive stand toward any group that seeks to fight the enemy and liberate Palestine, with our assertion that the conflict will not be turned into an inter-Palestinian one and that it will be kept against only the Zionist enemy.”