Gaza: Palestinian militants killed as Israel hits tunnel

UNRWA, the United Nations body that exists exclusively to serve Palestinians "refugees", has yet again discovered a terror tunnel running under one of its schools in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Because, doing so accomplishes one of two things: either Israel will avoid targeting Hamas operations under such a sensitive target, or children and agency staff will be killed in the cross-fire, providing ammunition for Hamas' PR campaigns against Israel.

The tunnel was under construction and had an exit in Israeli territory.

The Islamic Jihad said in an emailed press statement that five of the dead are members in the group's armed wing and two are members in Islamic Hamas movement's armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades.

Hamas forces have used tunnels in the past to enter Israel and carry out attacks.

Tunnels dug by Hamas were a key issue in the last war with Israel in 2014, but discoveries of those stretching into the Jewish state have since been rare.

"I told you many times before that we are developing breakthrough technology to deal with the tunnel threat", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told local media on Friday.

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The IDF said the tunnel was "detonated from within Israel, adjacent to the security fence".

On the Israeli side, the tunnel terminated near the Israeli community of Kibbutz Kissufim. Abbas said he would not appoint Hamas members to serve in a Palestinian unity cabinet if they do not openly and publicly recognize the State of Israel.

Conricus also said Israel used advanced technology to locate the tunnel but declined to elaborate.

Today, Hamas will turn over control over control of the Rafah border crossing, the only entry point between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The anticipated handover comes as part of ongoing efforts to end a decade-long political split between Hamas and rival Palestinian faction Fatah, which runs the PA. A total of 67 Israeli soldiers and six Israeli civilians were killed in the conflict, while 2,251 Palestinians died, according to the United Nations.

  • Adam Floyd