Al Qassam Brigades warns Israel about prisoners held amidst COVID-19 pandemic

Al Qassam Brigades’ spokesperson Abu Obeida

Al Qassam Brigades warned Israel that it is responsible for the health of militants and activists in its prisons as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread throughout the country.

“We hold the Zionist occupation fully responsible for the life, safety and health of our heroic prisoners,” al Qassam Brigades’ spokesperson Abu Obeida cautioned Israel in a recent statement.

Obeida suggested the group could take action against Israel if prisoners were to be infected with COVID-19.

“The life and safety of the prisoners are a red line and the Zionist enemy must release our prisoners due to their inability to provide a decent life that protects them from epidemics and diseases,” Obeida said.

Furthermore, Obeida affirmed that the leaders of the Joint Operations Room would meet to discuss “appropriate measures” that would be taken if the so-called “red line” was crossed.

Propaganda versus truth

The statements made by Obeida regarding the health of Palestinian militants and activists held in Israeli prisons aren’t new. This type of publication serves several purposes. It sends a message that Palestinian prisoners continue to be a priority for the militant group. It also acts as a reminder to the Israeli government that the group could possibly take action in the form of military operations if the health of Palestinian prisoners were to be compromised by COVID-19.

As previously detailed by FDD’s Long War Journal, statements made by Obeida have usually served as a propaganda tool more than truth.

Obeida’s statement more likely serves as an act of reassurance for prisoners rather than an actual threat of military response by al Qassam Brigades and the other militant groups in the Gaza Strip.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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