Photo Credit: Courtesy Tasnim Agency
Islamic Jihad chairman Ziyad al-Nakhalah

Informed diplomatic sources revealed to Al-Hayat a message conveyed by Israel to UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nickolay Mladenov, who conveyed it to Egypt asking that it convey it to the Islamic Jihad, that should the Jihad continue to fire rockets at Israeli towns, Israel would escalate its targeted assassinations program, to include the terrorist group’s Damascus-based leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah.

On Tuesday, Syria accused Israel of assassinating al-Nakhalah’s right hand Akram Ajuri in his Damascus domicile (see: Tough Day for Jihad Bosses: Akram Ajuri Assassinated in Damascus).

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Al-Hayat (Arabic: the life) is a London-based, pan-Arab newspaper owned by Saudi Prince Khalid bin Sultan, with a circulation estimated at more than 200,000. It is the newspaper of record for the Arab diaspora.

Nickolay Mladenov of Bulgaria, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process

According to Al-Hayat, Israel said that the Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad is not safe from liquidation—he is also targeted. But if the Islamic Jihad stopped firing rockets towards the Israeli settlements in the Gaza envelope and committed to the truce between Israel and Hamas, Israel would pledge to abide by the policy of no targeted assassinations as well as abide by all the other understandings of the truce, and would also provide more facilities to the Gaza Strip.

The sources stressed that Israel clarified it was not interested in an escalation, while the Islamic Jihad continues to attack – and noted that Mladenov’s efforts to negotiate a truce between Israel and Islamic Jihad have achieved no results so far, and that the Islamic Jihad would likely continue to escalate its attacks in the next few hours.

Hamas responded to the report stating it does not want to involve itself in the conflict and asserts that the jihad is acting alone.

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