Israel’s security establishment has stepped up its state of alert due to the possibility of an escalation in wake of the destruction of the Palestinian attack tunnel on the Gaza Strip border two weeks ago, in which 14 militants were killed, among them top Islamic Jihad operatives. As part of the heightened state of alert, the IDF placed an anti-rocket Iron Dome defense battery in central Israel. Furthermore, the IDF has increased its presence along the border with the Gaza Strip. That said, routine life in the Israeli communities of the Gaza periphery continues as usual and there are no restrictions on the residents, except for Israeli farmers with land near the border that must receiving special permission to work their fields. A senior Israeli defense official told TV7 that the security establishment is prepared for any scenario and the working assumption is that the Islamic Jihad is liable to try to attack Israel by using snipers and even by launching rockets. The official emphasized that “the Palestinian terror group should consider the consequences of attacking Israel, as the Jewish state will not tolerate any aggression directed against it, and will act decisively to deal a serious blow to any individual or group that would seek to breach its sovereignty or harm its residents.”
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt announced last night that the extreme statements made by the Islamic Jihad and its provocation of Israel were very harmful to the residents of Gaza and posed a grave danger. Greenblatt stressed that following the reconciliation deal, President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority should resume full responsibility for Gaza, and added that the Trump Administration was working on the matter together with the Palestinian leadership, Israel, Egypt and other partners.