According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, as many as 24 Palestinians have died and 70 more been wounded in Israeli air raids since Tuesday. The day saw an Israeli airstrike martyring Baha Abu al-Ata, the commander of Al-Quds Brigades — the Palestinian resistance movement of Islamic Jihad’s military wing — and his wife in their home in Gaza City in the coastal sliver, Presstv Reported.
On Wednesday, Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said, “All military branches of Palestinian resistance factions are uniformly prepared for defense against all acts of aggression by Israel.”
The factions conduct their defensive activities in complete coordination with one another, he told the Al-Aqsa TV station, adding that efforts aimed at sowing division among the Palestinian fighters would bear no fruit.
‘Resistance a holy mission’
Al-Quds Brigades and Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, “will not abandon their mission of resistance, which is a holy mission.”
Hazem Qassem, another Hamas spokesperson, reiterated Barhoum’s remarks, saying the resistance would be acting in an integrated manner whether on the battleground or on the political stage.
Islamic Jihad: Harsher retaliation coming
Islamic Jihad Spokesman Mas’ab al-Bareem, meanwhile, announced that the group’s response to the loss of its commander would be “more crushing in the coming hours.”
He also said information, which has reached the group, shows that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who approved of the assassination, is scrambling to bring about a ceasefire.
Bareem, however, asserted that it would be the Islamic Jihad and its fighters, who would decide when the battle would end, and asserted that “we will not be offering the enemy any ceasefire chance if the Palestinian people are expected to pay its price.”
Also on Tuesday, Israel’s new Minister for Military Affairs Naftali Bennett, who had just begun his tenure, announced an emergency situation in the area extending between the Gaza Strip’s border and the north of Tel Aviv, the Arab48 news website reported.
The area covered by the decision reaches as far as 80 kilometers (49 miles) inside the occupied territories. Bennett said the state of emergency would last for 48 hours unless decided against by either himself or the Israeli cabinet.