Following their recent visit to Iran, leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization, the second largest terror group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas, on Monday called for stepping up armed attacks against Israel.

Leaders of PIJ’s political bureau held a series of consultations over the past few days to discuss the latest developments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the outcome of its leaders’ recent visit to the Islamic Republic.

The consultations came days after a senior PIJ delegation headed by the organization’s secretary general, Ziyad al-Nakhaleh, visited Tehran, where they held meetings with Iranian leaders on ways of escalating the fight against Israel. Nakhaleh is based in Lebanon, while other members of the organization live in the Gaza Strip and Syria. A Hamas delegation led by Ismail Haniyeh also held talks in Iran about ways of enhancing Palestinian “resistance” groups in the West Bank.

After meeting with Nakhaleh, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei wrote on Twitter: “Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian resistance movements have found the main key to fighting the Zionist regime. The continually growing authority of resistance groups in the West Bank is the key to bringing the Zionist enemy to its knees, and this of course must be continued.”

In the past 18 months, PIJ has managed to establish several armed cells and recruit dozens of gunmen in the northern West Bank, specifically in the areas of Jenin and Nablus, a Palestinian security source said.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad received financial support from Iran

The source said PIJ has become a dominant force in the northern West Bank, largely thanks to the financial aid it receives from Iran.

“Islamic Jihad is using Iranian money to buy weapons and loyalty in the West Bank,” the source said. “The organization is paying high salaries to its members.”

According to the source, the Palestinian Authority has noticed that there is increased cooperation between PIJ gunmen and members of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of the ruling Fatah faction headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The PA security forces fear that scores of Fatah gunmen belonging to the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are currently on the payroll of Iran – through its Palestinian proxy PIJ, the source added.

“Iran is already here, in the West Bank,” a Palestinian official in Ramallah claimed. “The Iranians want their Palestinian agents to extend their control from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.”

At the end of the consultations last Friday, the PIJ political bureau emphasized the need for achieving Palestinian unity in the fight against Israel. It also stressed the importance of “building alliances on the basis of resistance” against Israel. The proposed alliances is seen as reference to the growing cooperation between PIJ and Fatah armed groups in the northern West Bank.

Additionally, the bureau said that confronting Israeli military incursions into Palestinian cities and villages in the West Bank must remain a top priority for the armed groups there. The Palestinians, it continued, will resort to all available methods, including the armed struggle, “until the liberation of Palestine.” The organization’s political bureau again boasted that members of PIJ’s armed wing, Al-Quds Brigades, were responsible for last week’s roadside bombs that wounded seven IDF soldiers in Jenin and damaged a number of armored vehicles.

Source » jpost