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IDF says explosion's purpose was not to assassinate senior terroristsIn the wake of escalating threats made by both the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas regarding the terror tunnel explosion, in which at least 8 terrorists were killed, the IDF stated it had no intention of assassinating any senior terrorists from Gaza. The IDF stressed the explosion's purpose was to simply mitigate the identified tunnel's threat.
After the IDF demolished a terrorist tunnel along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on Monday, during which at least eight Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists were killed, Israeli communities surrounding Gaza are on high alert.
The IDF Home Front Command Unit's instructions have already been sent to some of the Israeli schools near Gaza. The instructions include the cancellation of the extracurricular activities and recess. A number of towns near the border fence have been declared closed military zones by order of the IDF Southern Command’s commanding officer.
"This was a defensive action against a violation of sovereignty. The explosion’s purpose was to disable [the tunnel] and prevent its use entirely," IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Ronen Manelis explained this evening. "We did not use any illegal or unknown means," Manelis said, stressing that there was no intention to eliminate senior terrorists.
In addition, it was reported that although the tunnel belonged to the PIJ, the IDF holds Hamas responsible as the Gaza Strip’s governing body, adding that the PIJ received permission to dig the tunnel.
As previously reported by JOL, the PIJ took a severe blow today after one of its commanders, Arafat Abu Mourshid, and his deputy were killed. The PIJ stated that it plans to respond but wants to do so in coordination with Gaza’s other terrorist factions.
Initial reports from the emergency meetings held between all of Gaza’s terrorist organizations indicate that Hamas does not currently want an escalation in violence along the border. Hamas’ caution is likely due to the fact that an Egyptian diplomatic delegation is scheduled to arrive in the area tomorrow in order to help transfer the control of the border crossings over to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
However, the Islamic Jihad TV continues to threaten that it will resume firing rockets toward Israel. Among other things, a video clip showing the organization's rocket models was broadcast. It was also reported that Egypt, in cooperation with Palestinian elements, is making tremendous efforts to prevent an escalation.
Immediately after the explosion, PIJ terrorists entered the tunnel to rescue the missing tunnel diggers with whom they had lost contact. As a result of the tremors, dust and secondary collapses, several terrorists were killed.
Although the advanced technology used by the IDF to locate the tunnel section was not revealed, the operation undoubtedly demonstrates a step up in the IDF’s ability to counter the terror tunnel threat.
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