Israel Blames Islamic Jihad Drone for Border Tensions

Tension in the border area with the Gaza Strip was caused by a drone operation carried out by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Israeli army spokesman said on Sunday.

Members of the group had planted an explosive device near the border fence with the Strip overnight, he said. They fired the drone in the morning and remotely detonated the device when a military vehicle was passing by the area.

The vehicle was damaged, he revealed, but denied there were casualties among the soldiers.

The use of drones has raised concerns that Palestinian groups were developing their capabilities, he remarked. This prompted a stronger response from Israel, which struck Hamas and Jihad targets.

According to a military source, this was the third such drone attack.

Security and intelligence affairs analyst Yossi Melman, wrote in the Maarib newspaper: “Two previous strikes by drones had been launched from the Gaza Strip in recent weeks.” They dropped a grenade and an RPG.

Several evidence shows that the Iran-backed group is plotting significant bombings against Israel ahead of its September 17 elections, said Israeli intelligence sources.

The group is aligning itself to the Iranian policy. Since the election of new leader, Ziad Nakhle, it has sought to escalate tensions.

Hamas, which rules Gaza, does not mind the escalation, either because it cannot stop it and because it too is under Iran’s influence, or because it is turning a blind eye since it is disappointed with the pace in which the settlement with Israel is being implemented.

A security official said the Israeli military has been restraining itself and refraining from retaliating to such cases because it does not want to become embroiled in a new war in Gaza before the elections.

The military wants to preserve calm ahead of the polls and it does not want to wage a war under Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to avoid the army being exploited for his electoral battle.

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