June 23, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8812

Iran-Backed Al-Nujaba' Movement Releases Balloons With Photos Of 'Martyrs' Into Israel, Distributes Food Baskets In Gaza

June 23, 2020
Iran, Iraq, Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 8812

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In a move meant to demonstrate its regional influence outside the Iraqi borders and as part of an "axis of resistance" to Israel, Al-Nujaba' Movement, one of the most notorious Iraqi Shi'ite militias backed by Iran announced on its website on June 6, 2020 that it had launched balloons into Israeli territory. The balloons had photos of the commander of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force Qassem Soleimani and of other high-ranking "martyrs" who used to operate under Iranian sponsorship, including: Imad Mughniyeh of Hizbullah; Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis from the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU); Bahaa Abu Al-Atta from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad; and Ahmed Al-Jaabari from Hamas.[1] The statement did not say from where the balloons had been released.

The statement, which was issued by the group's office for international relations, said the balloons were launched as a warning to "the Zionist Entity [i.e., Israel]," saying that the latter intends to annex more Palestinian territory. It said: "With these photos, the movement wanted to emphasize that the martyrs' path will continue until the liberation of holy Al-Quds [i.e., Jerusalem] and to send a warning to the Zionist entity that there will consequences for any miscalculations it makes. If such a mistake happens, forces from all over the countries of the resistance axis will line up against this usurper entity."

Photos of the balloons were included with the statement, which underlined that a video taken by the group's psychological operations department indicates that drones were quickly dispatched to identify the flying objects.

"It should be noted that, following the use of small and large balloons by Palestinian combatants for military and non-military purposes, this Regime [Israel] has banned the use of any balloon or any other similar objects, and in case such objects are used inside the Palestinian land, drone teams will quickly be dispatched to that point for collecting information and the identification of threats" the statement concluded.

On May 4, 2020, the Al-Nujaba Movement announced on its website that its staff in Gaza had distributed aid baskets to the families of Palestinian prisoners and those who were killed while fighting Israel.[2] A statement on the group's website explained that "the staff of Al-Nujaba office in Gaza distributed baskets of medical and food supplies, in addition to other Ramadan gifts, to the families of martyrs and prisoners in Ash-Shuja'yia and other northern parts of Gaza Strip," noting that this recent effort in Gaza comes after similar campaigns carried out by the group in Iraq, Syria, and Iran.

The statement concluded by condemning Arab governments that are "extending support to the Zionist Entity, instead of supporting the besieged Palestinians in the peak of the coronavirus crisis." One photo showing food and medical supplies was also published on the website.

Both statements were published in Arabic, Persian, and English. 

On December 21, 2019, a pro-Iranian Arabic media outlet shared a video documenting a symposium organized by the Al-Nujaba' Movement office in Gaza under the title "America, The Great Satan," which "discussed the role of the Axis of Resistance in confronting the U.S. and the expansionist policy of Israel." According to the report, the symposium, which took place on December 21, 2019, at the Atlas Center in Gaza, was organized by the "Al-Nujaba' office of international relations in Palestine." Among the speakers were Ahmad Al-Mudallal, a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Palestinian "analyst and political writer" Hassan Abdo.[3] 

[1], June 6, 2020.

[2], May 4, 2020.

[3], December 21, 2019.

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