Gaza terror groups threaten ‘escalation’ as progress reported in Qatari aid deal

Palestinian factions in Gaza said on Wednesday that they were prepared to “escalate” hostilities against Israel unless restrictions on the enclave were loosened and announced a protest Saturday near the border fence.

“An explosion and escalation are inevitable if the status quo persists. The weak Zionist government must realize the price of its continued existence is ending the aggression against the West Bank and Jerusalem and ending the siege on Gaza,” senior Islamic Jihad official Khalid al-Batsh said in a statement.

After a Wednesday meeting, Gaza factions also announced that they would begin “a series of activities” to increase the pressure on Israel. In statements following the meeting, officials said they would hold a mass gathering in Malika camp on Saturday afternoon close to the security fence with Israel.

Malika was a key site of protests against Israel near the Gaza border fence in 2018 and 2019. The demonstrations, many of which saw violent clashes between terror group members and Israeli soldiers, left hundreds of Gazans dead.

Tensions between the two sides have been mounting again in recent weeks, propelled by an apparent lack of immediate progress in ceasefire talks to allow Gaza to rebuild following the 11-day conflict in May. On Monday, southern Israel was hit with the first rocket fire since the May round of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Read More: Times of Israel