Palestinian Militant Group Threatens to Restart Suicide Bombings Against Israel

Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad has threatened to resume suicide bomb attacks against Israeli targets in a new video released on Sunday.

The one-minute video, sent out as part of an email statement by the group's armed wing and circulated online by Middle East analysts and via Palestinian social media accounts, is entitled "Al-Quds Brigade - Message Number One." The video shows a purported Islamic Jihad member preparing a beige explosive vest with ball bearings and a detonation button.

The Palestinian militant, wearing a headband emblazoned with Islamic Jihad's insignia, is then shown recording a martyrdom video in Arabic and holding up an Arabic sign while smiling at the camera. Such pre-recorded messages are typically shown after a martyrdom operation has been undertaken.

The footage cuts to the supposed militant dressed as an Israeli soldier while walking up to a bus stop, where other men dressed in Israeli military uniforms are also standing. It is unclear if the other men are actual Israeli soldiers or other militants dressed as soldiers. He looks at his watch, before a bus is shown driving down the road, and the video fades to black. It is unclear where the footage was recorded.

Edited in with the footage are images of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem. The mosque sits on a raised platform known as the Holy Sanctuary, or Haram al-Sharif, to Muslims, and as the Temple Mount to Jews. Other clips appear to show Palestinian women being manhandled and arrested by Israeli forces in the holy city.

"A new intifada [uprising] has started against the Israeli occupation, and all attempts to stop it will fail," Mohammed al-Hindi, a senior leader of the group, said in an email statement seen by Bloomberg.

The warning appears to be a reaction to recent violence at the mosque compound. The clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian worshippers were sparked by fears that Israeli authorities might alter the status quo at the holy site, which is overseen by the Jordanian-Palestinian-led Islamic Waqf (or Islamic Trust), Jewish Israelis are not currently permitted to pray on the Temple Mount; some Jews want that rule changed.

Last week, four Israelis were killed in two separate attacks that Israeli authorities suspect were carried out by Palestinians. Gunmen shot and killed two Israelis in the West Bank on Thursday night and two Israelis were killed in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City on Saturday.

Israeli forces, consisting of the domestic Shin Bet agency, the Israeli military and Israeli police, arrested an undisclosed number of suspects in connection with the West Bank shooting attack in raids carried out in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday. Israeli forces who rushed to the scene of the stabbing attack shot and killed the Palestinian man suspected of carrying out the attack. Islamic Jihad claimed that the Palestinian suspect in the stabbing attack, Muhannad Halabi, was a member of the group, according to The Times of Israel.

In reaction to the attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held an emergency meeting on Sunday and promised a "harsh offensive" against Palestinian attackers. He ordered Israeli forces to speed up the demolition of homes belonging to the families of people suspected of committing terrorist acts and to use Israel's controversial administrative detention policy more liberally. That policy allows police to detain suspects without trial.

Israeli authorities also barred Palestinians from entering Jerusalem's Old City for 48 hours, beginning on Sunday, for the first time since the 1967 Six-Day War. Only Israelis, foreign tourists and Palestinians who own a business in the district or live or study in the area will be permitted inside the Old City for the duration of the restrictions. During that war, Israel captured East Jerusalem, an Arab-majority area of the city that includes the Old City.

Palestinian suicide bombings were common during the second Palestinian uprising or Intifada against Israel.

In 2001, an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber detonated a device at Tel Aviv's Dolphinarium club killing 21 Jewish-Israelis. Another Islamic Jihad militant detonated a bomb in July 2005 in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya, killing five people.