“Some 250 of our inmates went on hunger strike a few days ago in protest at restrictions imposed on them. Our message to the Zionists was very clear: We will respond with force if you do not stop the criminal measures,” Ziad al-Nakhala said during an interview with IRNA news agency in Tehran.
Following our threats, Nakhala said, Israeli officials agreed to make concessions in return for the non-disclosure of the matter, as it could have triggered backlash inside the occupied territories.
The Islamic Jihad chief said 440 Islamic Jihad prisoners are currently being held in Israeli jails, stressing, “Our threat to go to war on behalf of our prisoners forced the Zionists to retreat and give concessions.”
The al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad’s military wing, said in a brief statement on October 14 that it would go to war if Israel did not end the punitive measures imposed on the movement’s prisoners after the heroic escape of six Palestinians from a maximum-security Israeli detention center last month.
“We announce a state of general alert among the ranks of our fighters. We are completely prepared and at the ready,” the statement read.
Earlier this month, Nakhala had said that the Islamic Jihad was prepared to engage Israel on behalf of its prisoners.
“The Islamic Jihad will not leave its members in Zionist prisons to be victims at the hands of the enemy. Accordingly, we will stand with them and support them with everything we have, even if this means we must go to war for their sake,” he said on October 13.
Islamic Jihad official Tareq Ezaddin said on Friday that “the prisoners decided to suspend the hunger strike after they scored a victory against the administration of the occupation prison authorities.”
“The victory is a turning point in the confrontation with the [Israeli] jailers,” Ezaddin said.
‘Iran diminished US hegemony in region’
Elsewhere in his Saturday’s remarks, Nakhala said Iran has diminished the hegemony of the United States in the Middle East region, and its resistance against Washington’s oppressive stances has brought honor and dignity to Muslim nations.
Gaza-based resistance fighters also managed to defeat the Israeli army in May’s Operation al-Quds Sword, and established a new balance of power, the Islamic Jihad leader said, making a reference to the 11-day war Israel waged on the besieged enclave that killed over 250 Gazans, including 66 children.
The ISraeli regime was eventually forced to announce a ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, which came into force in the early hours of May 21.
“Zionists have to consider the strength of Palestinian resistance movements every now and then and continually seek agreements mediated by some Arab countries in order to enjoy stability and cessation of hostilities,” he stated.
“The Zionist regime’s political and military figures occasionally threaten the Islamic Republic of Iran with a military attack. The threats are indicative of their fear and are meant to faze resistance movements in the region,” Nakhala highlighted.
‘Israel is falling apart’
The Islamic Jihad head went on to say that “the Zionist regime is collapsing and all indications attest to such a fact. Its materialization is only a matter of time, and requires continuation of heroic resistance and complete liberation of Palestine.”
He said Palestinian resistance fighters, thanks to their high morale, have resoundingly defeated their enemies, especially Israeli military forces.
“That is why the Zionist forces, despite having been equipped with nuclear weapons, are afraid of getting close to the Gaza Strip, and rush to shelters after sirens sound” in the occupied territories, Nakhala said.
During the interview, the managing director of IRNA, for his part, said the news agency will spare no efforts to help pro-resistance media outlets grow stronger.