Israel took the initiative after four days of restrictions imposed on the Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip border and landed a pre-emptive strike on the Islamic Jihad organization in the Gaza Strip.
The purpose of the operation was to thwart terrorist attacks by the Islamic Jihad organization by firing anti-tank missiles and sniper fire at Israeli targets close to the border in response to the arrest of the organization’s leader Basam al-Saadi in Jenin.
The person who planned the terrorist attacks was Taysir Aljabari , the head of the northern brigade of the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, in coordination with the organization’s leadership in Lebanon.
He was a senior terrorist who succeeded Baha Abu Al-Ata, who was assassinated by the IDF in 2019.
As part of the ” Breaking Dawn” operation the Israeli Air Force attacked the apartment of Taysir Al-Jabari in the “Palestine Tower” in the center of Gaza city and also attacked 2 other terrorist squads who planned to fire anti-tank missiles at the Israeli settlements near the border.
Taysir Al-Jabari and several other senior field commanders of the Islamic Jihad were killed in the attack.
Israel managed to surprise the Islamic Jihad who did not foresee the attack, in recent days it tried to change the rules of the game that had been used until now and to create a new equation of linkage between the arrest of its operatives by the IDF in the West Bank and the continuation of the calm on the border of the Gaza Strip, just as the Hamas organization made a linkage between the situation in East Jerusalem and the “March of the Flags” on May 2021, which resulted in the firing of rockets towards Jerusalem.
The decision of the political echelon in Israel to launch the operation came after it became clear that the efforts of Egypt and the Hamas organization to restrain the Islamic Jihad and get it down from the tree it had climbed and in light of the advanced preparations on the ground by the Islamic Jihad operatives to carry out the terrorist attacks they planned on the border of the Gaza Strip.
Iran is pulling the strings behind the scenes
Iran is pulling the strings in everything that happens on the border of the Gaza Strip, Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip say that it is no coincidence that the head of the Islamic Jihad organization, Ziyad Al-Nakhala, left Beirut straight to Tehran for talks with the Iranian elite immediately after the arrest of Sheikh Bassam al-Saadi, the head of the jihad Islamic in Jenin.
Hamas officials estimate that Iran is designing a new strategy for its affiliates in the Middle East in light of the resumption of the nuclear talks and that this is also related to Hezbollah’s position and its threats regarding the conflict on the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon.
Ziyad Al-Nakhala met in Tehran with President Ebrahim Raisi and with general Hossein Salami Iran’s
Revolutionary Guards’s cmmander to coordinate the moves in Gaza with him, Salami promised that Israel will ” pay a heavy price” for its operation in the Gaza Strip.
Al-Nakhala spoke from Iran by phone with senior Egyptian intelligence officials but did not budge from his demand that Israel immediately release Sheikh Bassam al-Saadi from its detention..
Al-Nakhalah feels very secure when Iran is behind him, the Iranians are exerting pressure through the Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah and are challenging
the new Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
Will Hamas join the fighting?
Since the beginning of the crisis, Israel and Egypt have made a great effort to prevent the Hamas organization from joining the Islamic Jihad organization in attacking Israel with rockets.
The IDF refrained from attacking Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip and focused on attacking Islamic Jihad targets only..
Hamas has several good reasons to maintain the continued calm in the Gaza Strip.
A. Hamas is very interested in continuing to reconstruct the ruins of the houses in the Gaza Strip that were demolished in the last war.
B. Hamas wants to maintain the humanitarian aid it received from Israel, and that Israel will allow the entry of 14 thousand Gazan wokers to work in Israel.
C. Hamas has not yet finished rehabilitating the tunnel system and rocket production that was damaged in the war last war.
D. Hamas wants to continue receiving the financial grant from Qatar in the amount of $30 million per month.
E. Hamas is the sovereign and the strongest organization in Gaza Strip and does not want to allow its political rival the Islamic Jihad to gain any credit on the Palestinian street.
The IDF continues the arrest operation of Islamic Jihad operatives in the West Bank and Israel rejects the demand to stop it and release the senior Islamic Jihad leader Basam al-Saadi who was arrested in Jenin.
Israel has several achievements so far:
A. Israel managed to surprise the Islamic Jihad organization which tried to create a new equation and launch several terrorist attacks against the Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip.
B. Israel thwarted the terrorist attacks planned by the Islamic Jihad and assassinated the entire military elite of the Islamic Jihad organization in the Gaza Strip, Taysir Al-Jabari, the commander of the northern brigade, Khaled Mansour, the commander of the southern brigade, and other senior operatives..
C. Hamas sits on the fence and currently does not participate in the fighting.
The mission of the IDF is to continue the effort to prevent the Hamas organization from entering the circle of fighting and to increase the military pressure on the Islamic Jihad so that it agrees to a ceasefire.
Currently, the organization insists on continuing to fire rockets at Israel.
The restoration of the IDF’s deterrent power against the Islamic Jihad is very important and the military pressure on it in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip must not stop.
Yoni Ben Menachem
Senior Middle East Analyst