Seven Palestinians, including an Islamic Jihad commander and two members of Hamas, have been killed and nine others reportedly wounded after Israel blew up a tunnel leading into the country from Gaza.
The detonation of the tunnel, which travelled under the border fence near the southern city of Khan Younis, was disclosed by the Israel Defense Forces on October 30.
The killed Palestinians:
According to The Guardian, Islamic Jihad militant group said Arafat Abu Marshould, head of the group’s armed wing in central Gaza, was killed with a senior associate and two other members, adding that the group’s fighters were on “full alert”. The armed wing of the Islamist Hamas group said two of its members were killed while trying to rescue Islamic Jihad men working in the tunnel. Gaza health officials said nine people were wounded.
Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said that nine others were also wounded in the Khan Younis area and were taken to the nearby al-Aqsa Hospital for treatment. The ministry officially identified five of those killed as members of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad: Brigade Commander Arafat Marshood, Deputy Commander Hasan Abu Hasanein, Ahmad Khalil Abu Armaneh, 25, Omar Nassar Al-Falit, 27 and Jihad al-Samiri. The two others killed were identified as 30-year-old Masbah Shbeer and Mohammed al-Agha, 22 – both members of Hamas’ Izz Eddine al-Qassam Brigades. The health ministry said the number of those killed could increase significantly due to the large number of people still missing.
“We affirm our right to respond to the aggression of the occupation today,” the Islamic Jihad Movement said in a statement later on October 30.
Hamas said in a post on Twitter that the attack constitutes “a new war against Gaza people”.
Israeli occupation forces escalation at Gaza borders leads to a new war against Gaza people.
— Hamas Movement (@HamasInfoEn) 30 October 2017
Palestinian media reported that the tunnel had been hit by the Israeli air force. “Reports said Israel fired five missiles at the tunnel that was being dug east of Khan Younis and which Israel claims was leading to its territory,” Palestinian news agency Wafa said.
Israel plans to use Egypt’s aid to keep the situation calm. Jerusalem said that no matter whoever “breaks the peace”, Hamas will be kept responsible.