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Israeli assassinations: Islamic Jihad says 'blood of martyrs will not be wasted'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file picture, members of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad resistance group, march with their weapons to show loyalty for the group’s leader Ziad al-Nakhalah during a rally in Gaza City. (Photo by AP)

The leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement has condemned the recent fatal shooting of three young Palestinian men by Israeli troops during an operation in the occupied West Bank, stressing that armed struggle against the occupying Israeli regime will continue unabated across the Palestinian territories.

“The blood of the martyrs will not be wasted. Their long-held dream was fulfilled and they joined the rank of their fallen combatant and steadfast brethren,” Ziyad al-Nakhalah said in telephone conversations with families of the victims on Thursday night.

Nakhalah highlighted that armed struggle against Israeli forces will never stop, and the enemy will be astounded within the next few days as it will get hit from where it has never calculated.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad chief also said it was a matter of pride for him to cooperate with all freedom-seeking resistance fighters in the face of Israel, and confront the regime’s aggression against Palestinian lands and nation.

The killing of the three Palestinian resistance fighters on Tuesday was widely condemned by Palestinians as a “field execution” and an “assassination”. 

The targeted military operation took place in the heart of Nablus in broad daylight. Israeli soldiers used two private vehicles with Palestinian plates to enter al-Makhfiya neighborhood of the northern West Bank city to reach their target. 

They then got out and surrounded the vehicle carrying the Palestinian men, and fired at it intensely from point-blank range. 

The Israeli military said it ambushed the fighters, adding that they were members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades – the military wing of Fatah resistance movement.

Palestinian prisoners protest against 'repressive measures' in Israeli jails

Separately, Palestinian prisoner groups have announced plans to protest against what they describe as escalating repression by Israeli prison authorities. 

The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), an umbrella advocacy group, said on Thursday that inmates refused to leave their cells for daily checks and to go to the prison yards for a fifth day this week amid mounting tensions.

Prisoners have also announced the dissolution of their representative bodies that coordinate with jail authorities, meaning that each prisoner is free to do what they want to voice their grievances.

The PPS said protests will be staged on Friday and next Monday.

Prisoners argue that Israeli authorities decided on February 5 to reduce the duration of inmates’ outdoor time, in violation of arrangements already in place. 

They say prisoners from different sections were previously allowed to be in the yards together for about six hours a day, divided into two shifts, but now both the duration and the number of those allowed outdoors at the same time have been scaled back.

The prisoners have rejected the new measures, saying they infringe on rights they won over years of hard-fought peaceful protests, including numerous hunger strikes.

The PPS said specialized Israeli units have been deployed in various wards to control the outbreak of any potential unrest.

Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Prisoners Affairs Commission, said the recent measures by Israeli authorities are a continuation of a growing crackdown on inmates.

“The prison administration continues to repress the prisoners and take away what they have worked so hard to achieve over the years, which are simple rights,” Abu Bakr said, describing the crackdown as “collective punishment.”

He noted that Israeli authorities have increased their “repressive policies” since the September prison break last year, when six members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement escaped the maximum-security Gilboa jail.

Israeli jail authorities keep Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards.

Palestinian inmates have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment, and repression.

There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have been apparently incarcerated under the practice of the so-called administrative detention. Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.

Palestinians and human rights groups say "administrative detention" violates the right to due process since evidence is withheld from prisoners while they are held for lengthy periods without being charged, tried, or convicted.

The detention takes place on orders from a military commander and on the basis of what the Israeli regime describes as secret evidence. 

Rights groups describe Israel’s use of administrative detention as a “bankrupt tactic” and have long called on the regime to bring the practice to an end.

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