Israel Indicts Militant Whose Arrest Fueled Gaza Tensions


The Israeli military said Thursday it has filed terror charges against a senior member of the Islamic Jihad militant group whose arrest in the occupied West Bank helped spark three days of heavy fighting in Gaza earlier this month. 

Islamic Jihad had demanded the release of Bassam al-Saadi and another detained Palestinian  who is on a prolonged hunger strike as part of  the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire that ended the fighting. The indictment signals that those demands will not be met. 

The military said al-Saadi, 62, stands accused of “committing crimes of affiliation with and activity in an illegal association” and receiving funds from Islamic Jihad in Gaza, as well as “impersonation, incitement, and aiding contact with enemy elements,” the military said. 

Islamic Jihad is an Iran-sponsored Palestinian militant group that is opposed to Israel’s existence and has carried out scores of deadly attacks over the years targeting Israeli civilians. It operates in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza. 

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