The Israel Defense Forces arrested a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander in the northern West Bank Monday morning. Tareq Qa’adan was arrested Sunday night in the village of Araba, south of Jenin, in the northern West Bank. 14 other Palestinians were also arrested in early morning raids.
Tension has increased between Israel and PIJ after the IDF destroyed a tunnel in Israeli territory which had been dug by the PIJ. Twelve Hamas and PIJ fighters, including senior military commanders, were killed in the subsequent explosions in the tunnel.
On Saturday night, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai issued a statement in Arabic directed at organizations in the Gaza Strip. Mordechai said, “We are aware of the plot that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group has been planning against Israel. They are playing with fire at the expense of the residents of Gaza, the Palestinian reconciliation efforts, and the stability of the entire region. We advise the Islamic Jihad leadership in Damascus to exercise caution and to take control of the situation. To the leadership of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Damascus, Ramadan Shalah and Ziad Nakhaleh, we say: take matters quickly into your own hands because you are the ones who will be held accountable.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also made reference to an Islamic Jihad plot in Cabinet on Sunday when he said that “there are still those toying with the idea of planning new attacks on Israel.”
Islamic Jihad responded by saying that “the Zionist enemy’s threats to harm the organization’s leadership are a declaration of war.”