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Islamic Jihad: Israel breaking ceasefire deal, ‘must bear full responsibility’

Truce was said to include Egyptian promise to work toward release of its West Bank chief — who was indicted earlier Thursday — and a hunger-striking prisoner

Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nakhaleh speaks in a televised address, August 25, 2022. (Screengrab/Twitter)
Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nakhaleh speaks in a televised address, August 25, 2022. (Screengrab/Twitter)

The leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza accused Israel on Thursday of reneging on its commitments under a truce that ended a flare-up earlier this month.

The televised remarks of Ziad Nakhaleh came as PIJ held simultaneous rallies in the Gaza Strip, Damascus, and Beirut, weeks after three days of violence that ended in the Egyptian-brokered truce.

“The enemy is still evading the commitments it made to our brothers in Egypt,” Nakhaleh said.

“The enemy government must bear full responsibility for that,” he said, referring to the Jewish state.

His comments came after military prosecutors earlier Thursday filed an indictment against Bassem Saadi, Islamic Jihad’s West Bank leader, whose arrest on August 1 sparked the round of fighting.

Saadi’s indictment included charges of membership in a terror group, conducting operations on behalf of the terror group, incitement to terrorism, assisting others to contact an enemy, and assuming a false identity.

A military court further extended Saadi’s remand on Thursday, ordering him held until Sunday, when a hearing will be held to have him remain under arrest until the end of legal proceedings. There was no immediate date scheduled for his trial.

Bassem Saadi, head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in the West Bank, appears for a hearing at Ofer prison, outside of Jerusalem, on August 25, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In response to Saadi’s initial arrest, the PIJ announced it was declaring a state of alert. The Israel Defense Forces, saying it had concrete indications of an imminent attack on the Gaza border, put the area on lockdown for four days amid concerns that PIJ would try to fire anti-tank missiles at Israeli targets along the border.

Eventually, the IDF launched a series of airstrikes in Gaza against a senior PIJ commander and several anti-tank guided missile squads in an operation called Breaking Dawn, which prompted rocket fire from the Strip.

After nearly three days of fighting, a ceasefire agreement was signed, which reportedly included “Egypt’s commitment to work toward the release of” Saadi and another Palestinian detainee, Khalil Awawdeh, a terror group spokesperson said.

Israel has no intention of releasing the prisoners early, officials said after the ceasefire. Awawdeh’s administrative detention has been temporarily suspended, but Israel’s top court has denied him a full release.

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