Photo Credit: Majdi Fathi/TPS
Islamic Jihad terrorists in Khan Younis. April 8, 2022

Israel did not agree to the release of any of the detainees demanded by the Islamic Jihad, neither the administrative detainee nor the one who was arrested last week, a Jerusalem official clarified Monday following the end of Operation Breaking Dawn.

Ahead of the ceasefire that went into effect on Sunday night and ended 55 hours of warfare between the IDF and the Islamic Jihad terror organization in the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Jihad leadership demanded the release of several prisoners held by Israel, including Sheikh Bassam al-Saadi, the leader of the Islamic Jihad in Samaria region who was arrested last week and who was the supposed reason for the terror organization’s threats against Israel that led to the operation.

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Although the Egyptians, who mediated between Israel and the Islamic Jihad and facilitated the ceasefire, asked to hear about the situation of the detainees, they did not say that Israel would release them, “and we did not agree for that,” the source said.

The Egyptians told the Islamic Jihad that they would make an effort to release the administrative prisoner Khalil Al-Awaweda for medical treatment and to work for the release of al-Saadi, but the terror organization knows that this promise has no practical value.

Israeli analyst Yoni Ben Menachem, of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), wrote that there is no Israeli commitment to release al-Saadi.

“He holds very important information about all the terrorist activities of the Islamic Jihad in the northern West Bank,” he explained.

The Islamic Jihad was “forced to agree to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal and come down from the tree, now it is trying to present itself as the one who won the short round of fighting in which it suffered a severe blow from Israel,” he noted.

On the other hand, Israel achieved most of the goals it set for itself in the operation, and the decision to end it was correct.

“Now is the time to change the attitude towards the Gaza Strip and try to formulate a strategy that will bring long-term calm, this is a difficult task,” he said, “otherwise the next round of fighting will arrive in a short time.”

While the Islamic Jihad achieved nothing, the IDF emphasized its satisfaction with meeting the objectives of the operation – causing significant damage to the Islamic Jihad’s chain of command.

Taysir al-Jabari, commander of the Islamic Jihad’s northern division, was eliminated on Friday, and the commander of the southern division, Khaled Mansour, was eliminated on Saturday night. Khatab ‘Amasi, Islamic Jihad’s commanding officer of the Rafah Brigade, and Ziad Madalal, Mansour’s deputy, were also killed in the strikes.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.