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Israel ramps up security around Gaza Strip after arrest of Islamic Jihad official

Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad in Gaza patrol at the border between Gaza and Israel against possible infiltration from Israel, on April 21, 2022. [Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency]
Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad in Gaza patrol at the border between Gaza and Israel against possible infiltration from Israel, on April 21, 2022. [Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency]

Israel has announced a series of measures to ramp up security around the Gaza Strip following the arrest of senior Islamic Jihad official Bassam Al-Saadi in Jenin refugee camp on Monday evening. The Israeli army killed a Palestinian activist when soldiers arrested Al-Saadi when they stormed into the refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid will be holding a security meeting today to discuss security developments attended by alternative Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, National Security Adviser Eyal Holata, Israel Defence Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and other security officials.

"Following the massive arrest campaign in the West Bank and based on an assessment of the situation and activities linked to the Islamic Jihad movement, it was decided to close areas and roads adjacent to the security fence with the Gaza Strip," said an army spokesman.

He explained that the decision to ramp up security affects agricultural areas and roads linking Israeli population centres adjacent to the nominal border with the Gaza Strip. "Moreover, the Zikim beach will be closed, trains between Ashkelon and Sderot will be suspended, and the Erez crossing will be closed to [Palestinian] workers." The area will be closed for fear of direct targeting and to prevent civilians from being targeted, the spokesman added.

Israel fears that the Islamic Jihad movement will respond to Al-Saadi's arrest by launching attacks from the Gaza Strip against targets in the occupation state.

READ: Israel demands disbanding of UN committee investigating attacks on Gaza

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