Islamic Jihad denies responsibility for rocket attack
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Islamic Jihad denies responsibility for rocket attack

Gaza-based terror group calls statement an attempt to distract attention from hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner

Palestinian Islamic Jihad supporters celebrate what they said was a victory over Israel in Gaza City, August 29, 2014 (Emad Nassar/Flash90)
Palestinian Islamic Jihad supporters celebrate what they said was a victory over Israel in Gaza City, August 29, 2014 (Emad Nassar/Flash90)

The Islamic Jihad terror group denied it was behind the firing of a barrage of rockets into northern Israel from Syrian territory Thursday, after the IDF said it did so on Iran’s behest.

The four rockets landed in the northern Galilee and Golan Heights sparking brush fires, but caused no injuries.

Shortly after the cross-border attack, the IDF said Syrian operatives of the Gaza-based terror group were responsible for launching the rockets and said they were receiving orders and finances from Iran.

“We consider Syria to be responsible for the fire and it will also suffer the results,” the army said in a statement posted to Twitter.

An Islamic Jihad spokesperson denied the group was behind the attack and called the IDF assertion a “malignant” attempt to distract the public from the cause of Palestinian detainee Mohammed Allaan, who ended a two month hunger strike earlier Thursday.

“We categorically deny that Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the rockets fired into the Galilee,” he told a Palestinian news outlet.

Members of Islamic Jihad, which is known to have rockets in Gaza, had threatened to attack Israel earlier in the week over the fate of Allaan, who it says is part of the group.

Hours after the attack, the IDF said it fired artillery shells at several Syrian targets adjacent to the Israeli border.

Media reports in Syria said at least four Israeli shells were fired at Syrian military positions in the Quneitra area in the Syrian Golan.

There were unconfirmed reports of casualties on the Syrian side, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The army placed Iron Dome anti-missile batteries around the southern cities of Ashdod and Beersheba on Thursday morning, amid fears of a backlash over the health of Allaan.

Allaan ended his hunger strike Thursday afternoon and was said to be recovering his health, after being hospitalized in critical condition over the weekend.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and top military officials visited the northern border and warned that Iranian money freed up in the nuclear deal would be funneled to terror groups on Israel’s borders.

“We are ready for any eventuality. Those who try to attack us – we will hurt them,” Netanyahu said.

While Islamic Jihad is though to enjoy close ties with Iran, the group is not known for maintaining a large presence on Israel’s northern border.

Netanyahu’s visit came days after Israeli troops held a large-scale drill in Israel’s north to prepare for the possibility of a massive attack from either Syria or Lebanon, including the possibility of an Israeli offensive into Syria following a rocket barrage.

 

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