The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group boasted Sunday evening that it had developed a new missile that can hit beyond Tel Aviv, threatening to turn Israeli cities into “hell.”
The Gaza-based organization made the claim in a documentary film broadcast on Iranian television, which included footage of various projectiles, other weapons and missile launches.
The missile was made with help from Iran, PIJ said. The group, which is backed by Tehran and is the second-largest terror organization in Gaza, after its Hamas rulers, said that the “first missile” it launches toward Tel Aviv will be Iranian-made.
The documentary also included a claim by PIJ that it had developed precision missiles.
“We managed to develop a missile that can reach from the Gaza Strip to Tel Aviv and Netanya,” a PIJ spokesman says in the clip, adding that its range could even extend beyond that.
The terror group already fired Iran-made missiles toward Tel Aviv more than six years ago, during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012. In the new documentary, it said its engineers had succeeded in renewing its missile arsenal, which was largely destroyed in previous military confrontations.
The group warned it would “surprise” Israel “in response to any crime it makes in the future.”
“The enemy’s act of stupidity against the Gaza Strip and its residents will turn the occupied cities and communities into hell, God willing,” the spokesman said. “The occupation has no place on the land of Palestine. It will either withdraw from it or suffer harmful blows.”
It was an apparent reference to the Israeli military’s response to large-scale protests organized weekly near the Israel-Gaza border, during which many Palestinians have been killed or wounded over the last 11 months, most recently a 15-year-old boy said by Hamas to have been shot on Friday.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, the protests have seen thousands of Palestinians rioting along the border, throwing rocks and explosive devices at Israeli soldiers and trying to breach the fence.
It is a “duty” to capture “Zionist soldiers to swap them with jihad prisoners” in Israeli jails, PIJ said.
The IDF believes PIJ or Hamas — the Islamist terror group that seized control of Gaza in 2007 and openly seeks to destroy Israel — could attempt to draw Israel into a war by conducting an attack along the border in the form of an anti-tank missile strike, an ambush from an undiscovered tunnel, or a similar psychologically significant attack.
Since last March, the Gaza border has seen large-scale weekly clashes on Fridays, smaller protests along the northern Gaza border on Tuesdays, and periodic flareups between the Israeli military and Palestinian terror organizations.
For the past several months, Egypt, UN special coordinator to the Middle East peace process Nikolay Mladenov and Qatar have worked to try to restore calm in Gaza and prevent flareups between Israel and terror groups in the Strip.
Israel has demanded an end to the violent demonstrations along the border in any ceasefire agreement.
Earlier this month Israel announced that it had begun the final phase of construction of a 20-foot (some 6 meters) high galvanized steel fence that will completely surround the Strip.
The barrier will extend 65 kilometers (40 miles) miles around the enclave and sit atop the subterranean concrete wall that Israel is constructing around Gaza to block terrorist groups’ attack tunnels.
Judah Ari Gross and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report