Dr Mike Evans

Charges filed against Islamic Jihad member who arrest fueled Gaza conflict

Military prosecutors filed charges on Thursday against the Islamic Jihad member whose arrest sparked a conflict between Israel and the terrorist group in Gaza.

Bassem Saadi’s (or Asadi) case included multiple counts, including membership in a terrorist group, conducting terrorist operations and assuming a false identity.

Saadi was arrested alongside Ashraf al-Jadeh, an Islamic Jihad operative and close aide. The two men were arrested with a gun, ammunition, explosives and cash, according to the Israel Security Agency.

The IDF was on high alert following the arrests, closing roads around the Gaza Strip along with train and bus services to the area.

“We announced our intention to raise readiness among our fighters and combat units, in response to the aggression against the senior commander Sheikh Bassam al-Sa’adi and his family a short while ago in Jenin,” PIJ said in a statement following the arrests. “We warn Israel against harming al-Sa’adi’s life, and we are ready to respond to the aggression with force if Israel does not stop.”

The arrest led to Islamic Jihad rockets fired at Israel, with Operation Breaking Dawn taking out key leaders of the group in targeted airstrikes. A total of 47 people were reportedly killed. A truce was later brokered through Egypt to end the rocket attacks.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad has threatened to restart fighting and break its current truce with Israel if the two men are not released. Israeli security has no current plans to release the men.

Tensions remain high in the area following a string of terror incidents in Israel earlier in the year that ended the lives of 19 people. Security levels continue to remain high as Israel prepares to defend against any response.