Israel sends reinforcements to Gaza border as tensions rise
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military said Thursday it is sending additional forces to the area around the Gaza Strip as it braces for possible attacks after the arrest of a senior militant in the West Bank this week.
Authorities closed roads and other areas around Gaza after a raid Monday night, in which troops arrested a senior member of the Islamic Jihad militant group in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin. A Palestinian teenager, who Islamic Jihad claimed as a member, was killed during clashes with the Israeli forces.
Islamic Jihad, which rejects Israel’s existence and has carried out scores of deadly attacks over the years, said it was going “on alert” and raising its readiness in response.
Gaza has been ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas since it drove out rival Palestinian forces in 2007. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza, and the two sides have fought four wars and dozens of smaller battles over the last 15 years.
“The security arrangements that we decided upon are necessary as temporary preparation measures,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said after convening a security meeting on Thursday.
“We will not accept a long-term situation in which terrorist organizations disrupt citizens’ lives.”
Israel has carried out near-daily raids in the occupied West Bank following a series of deadly attacks targeting civilians inside Israel earlier this year.
Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 war, territories the Palestinians want for their future state. The peace process broke down more than a decade ago, leaving millions of Palestinians living under Israeli military rule with no end in sight.