The Islamic Jihad terror group on Friday warned Israel of war if Palestinian civilians were killed at mass protests planned for Saturday.
A spokesman for the Al-Quds Brigades, the Iranian-backed group’s military wing, made the threat after calling for civilians to join the demonstrations in a video posted on the organization’s website.
“We caution the Zionist enemy against the spilling of Palestinian blood and emphasize that killing civilians will not bring it anything other than war,” the spokesman, Abu Hamza, said in the video.
Tens of thousands of Gazans are likely to join Saturday demonstrations for Land Day, which marks a 1976 decision by the Israeli government to seize thousands of dunams of Arab-owned land in the Galilee region of northern Israel.
This year’s march also marks a year since the start of weekly violent protests along the Israel-Gaza border, known as the “March of Return.” The protests have at times escalated into full-blown exchanges of fire between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in Gaza, most recently earlier this week.
Israel maintains that Hamas, a terror group that seeks to destroy the Jewish state, appropriated the campaign for nefarious purposes, using the civilian protesters as cover for violent military activities.
The Israeli military’s primary concern in these March of Return protests is that large groups of people will break through the fence, armed with guns, grenades and knives, and either enter one of the Israeli communities located a few hundred meters from the border and attack those inside, or kidnap soldiers stationed along the security fence.
The IDF deployed three additional brigades to the Gaza Division, along with an artillery battalion, and called up reservists from air defense and other select units.
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