On Feb. 20, a militant group in the Gaza Strip, Nasser Salah al Din Brigades, published a video (which originally aired in 2018) about the details of a 2018 operation that targeted IDF soldiers at the Gaza security fence. In the publication, a series of events are explained as to what made the militant group decide to launch an attack against IDF soldiers at the Gaza border.
The group begins the publication by stating “The President of the State of Terrorism, Donald Trump, came out to announce his intention to move the American Embassy from the occupied city “Tel al Rabia” [Tel-Aviv] to the occupied city of Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine.” The group views Trump’s decision in 2017 to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the relocation of the American Embassy as an “intensification” of an “unjust siege” against the Palestinian people.
Also, it sees the recognition as a violation of “our most important sacred places, which is the blessed al Aqsa Mosque, the first of the two Qibla and the third of the two holy mosques.”
The group cites the injury and killing of Palestinians during protests against the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as another reason for the operation.
The publication states “The Zionist attacks continued even against elders, women, children, paramedics and journalists, and their crime caused injury and the liquidation of people with disabilities.”
Another reason given to launch the “al Alam ambush” operation was the death of 12 fighters from Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s and Hamas’ military wings in 2017 by an IDF airstrike against a tunnel being built by the groups. The tunnel was under active construction and being monitored by the IDF near the city of Khan Yunis. The IDF made the decision to destroy the tunnel with the fighters still inside, killing one dozen people and injuring others.
Due to the previous events, the publication states “The decision was issued by the resistance leadership in Palestine and its military arm, Nasser Salah al Din Brigades, to respond to these crimes by opening the file of “Ambushes of Hell” and carrying out one of the tasks in this file, which carries many pleasant surprises for the Palestinian people and deterring the Zionist enemy.”
After deliberating on a method of attack, the group devised a plan to use a booby-trapped flag pole as its weapon of choice. When the method of attack was chosen, a monitoring and reconnaissance unit of the faction was tasked to locate a site along the Gaza security fence where the operation could take place.
The operation took place at the Gaza security fence, east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on Feb. 17, 2018. According to the group, under the cover of Palestinians protesting at the site of the operation, a member of the militant group planted the booby-trapped flag between the wires of the security fence that separate Gaza and Israel.
An unspecified time later, a group of IDF soldiers approached the site where an IDF soldier inspected the flag for anything that could indicate it was booby-trapped. After some time, the soldier removed the flag from the fence and carried it back to a group of soldiers that were waiting near the fence. At that point, the explosive inside the pole detonated, severely injuring two soldiers and moderately wounding the others.
Although no Israeli soldiers were killed, Nasser Salah al Din Brigades claimed success in the operation to exact revenge for the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the Trump administration, the repeated violations against Palestinians by the Israeli government and the killing of its comrades from Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in late 2017.
The Nasser Salah al Din Brigades spokesperson parts with a message to Israelis and Palestinians:
“To the Zionist enemy, we say killing by killing, blood by blood, bombing by bombing, the account will remain open. If you come back, we will be back too.”
“And our message to our people in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and our occupied lands is that the Zionist enemy only understands the language of power and blood and there is no room to regain our rights and our country through futile negotiations and peace agreements here or there.”
“Rise up against your enemy.”