In a first, Hamas security forces arrested terrorists from the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the so-called military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, who are suspected of firing rockets from Gaza at Israel, a member of the Brigades told Breitbart Jerusalem.
This is the first time Fatah military operatives have been arrested for allegedly firing rockets at Israel since Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
According to Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades senior member Abu Muhammad, Hamas arrested seven members of Fatah’s “military” branch in Gaza. All of those arrested were part of the Martyr Hussein Abayat Squads of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, named after one of the founders of the Al Aqsa Brigades who was among the first to be eliminated by Israel in the Intifada that started in September 2000 after Yasser Arafat rejected Israeli statehood offers.
Abayat was killed in November 2000 and a number of units in the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades bear his name.
According to Muhammad, jihadists within the organization fired rockets at Ashkelon and the town of Netiv HaAsara, located adjacent to the border wall between Israel and Gaza. One rocket fell next to a home in Netiv HaAsara while another damaged a home in Ashkelon as its occupants took shelter in the structure’s fortified security room.
All seven of those arrested are residents of the Palestinian towns in the north of the Gaza Strip and were taken into custody just hours after the rocket fire.
Attempts launched in recent days by representatives of various factions to negotiate for their release have yet to bear fruit.
Fatah’s so-called military wing in the Gaza Strip, once known as Al-Asifah (the storm), declared two days after President Donald Trump’s speech recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel that it intended to fire rockets at the Jewish state in response to the speech.
Representatives of the military organization said in a press conference held in Gaza, “We are declaring a heightened state of alertness and preparing for armed conflict with the Israeli enemy in all Palestinian towns and in every way, but especially through military arms, in response to U.S. President Trump’s announcement of recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
“Trump’s decision is effectively the firing of the last bullet at the peace process,” said an Al Assifa spokesperson. “This decision is not even worth the ink in which it was written.”
The spokesperson for Fatah’s armed groups called on Fatah and the PLO to withdraw their recognition of “the Israeli entity” and do away with all contact with the “enemy,” referring to Israel.
“Our people will write in their pure blood the saying that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine,” said the spokesperson.