update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Islamic Jihad leader: Cell phones led to Gaza assassinations

“I am sad to say that all our brothers who were martyred had their cellular devices with them," said Ziyad al-Nakhalah.

The Israeli Air Force targets the hideout of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist in the Gaza Strip, May 9, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.
The Israeli Air Force targets the hideout of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist in the Gaza Strip, May 9, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.

The leader-in-exile of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization has blamed cell phones for the assassination by Israel of six of the group’s senior commanders during Israel’s “Operation Shield and Arrow” in early May.

“Our brothers were negligent in assessing the situation, and how the enemy monitors these devices,” Ziyad al-Nakhalah told website Washington Haya. “I am sad to say that all our brothers who were martyred had their cellular devices with them.”

“Operation Shield and Arrow” was launched on May 9 with the targeted killings of three senior PIJ members in the Gaza Strip. During the five-day conflict, that saw Palestinian terrorist groups fire 1,500 rockets at Israeli territory, the IDF killed three other top PIJ commanders.

Nakhalah, who has led PIJ since 2018 and is said to be living in either Lebanon or Syria, also claimed that the assassinated commanders had been immediately replaced.

“Even if we lose a leader in one of the battles, the deputy assumes responsibility in his place immediately,” he said. “Their martyrdom does not cause confusion in the military structure.”

In response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that PIJ leaders could be targeted for assassination outside of the Gaza Strip, Nakhalah said, “We are also able to bomb their capital and cities from other arenas.”

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