Palestine groups vow ‘agency response’ to Israel violence

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The armed wings of 15 Palestinian factions on Wednesday asserted their readiness to “firmly” confront any Israeli aggression against the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The assertion came in a joint statement released by the armed wings of 15 resistance factions, including the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas) and the Saraya al-Quds Brigades (Islamic Jihad).

“We affirm our readiness to respond, with all the power at our disposal, to any aggression committed by the Israeli enemy,” the statement read.

“The era in which rules of engagement and the balance of power are decided by the enemy is over,” it added.

The statement goes on to say that recent rocket barrages fired from Gaza into Israel had been in response to “the enemy’s crimes against our people; its targeting of unarmed demonstrators in the Gaza Strip; and its targeting of resistance positions [in Gaza]”.

On Tuesday, Israeli warplanes struck Hamas and Islamic Jihad positions in Gaza in ostensible retaliation for a volley of rockets fired into southern Israel from the coastal enclave.

The rocket barrages had come one day after four Palestinians were killed in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes.

Tension has mounted in the Palestinian territories since last December, when U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

On May 14, the U.S. relocated its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, drawing condemnation from across the Arab and Muslim world and further enflaming passions in the Palestinian territories.

Since Mar. 30, at least 118 Palestinians have been killed — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army gunfire in the eastern Gaza Strip.

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