Mourners participate in yesterday’s Gaza funeral for terrorists killed when the IDF blew up a tunnel that had entered Israeli territory..
(photo credit:MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS)
The tunnel the IDF blew up was “meant to bring about the release of Palestinian prisoners from the Israeli prisons,” Khaled al-Batash, a senior Islamic Jihad official, said Tuesday.
Essentially, according to various media reports, that means it was intended to be used for the abduction of Israeli soldiers.
Al-Batash was speaking at the funeral of three of the terrorists who were killed Monday when the tunnel, which ran from Khan Yunis into Israel, collapsed on them when it was blown up by the IDF.
Al-Batash said Islamic Jihad will dig another tunnel for the exact same purposes.
“The uprising could hurt the enemy,” he said. “We are at full capacity, waiting for the next battle.”
Seven terrorists were killed in the collapse, among them a senior commander in the al-Quds brigades, the military arm of Islamic Jihad.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also referred to the IDF operation, saying in a speech in Gaza that militant groups in Gaza will not be deterred.
“If the enemy believes, with this slaughter and mbadacre, it can impose the rules of the game, it is delusional. Our hands are higher, our sword is sharp and our desire is strong.”
“Our determination is stronger than this occupier,” he said.
“The response to this mbadacre, alongside holding on to our strategic option of resistance and the weapons of resistance, is to move forward toward restoring national unity because the enemy knows and realizes that our power is in our unity.
“It is not possible for a people under occupation to be victorious if it is not united in terms of vision, principles and strategies – most important of which is comprehensive resistance.”
Meanwhile, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot toured the Gaza border on Tuesday, met with senior commanders and praised the successful operation.
“This action adds to the many others – open or confidential – that IDF forces are taking and will keep taking against any threat at any given time,” he said.
“We are closely following the actions of the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip,” Eisenkot continued. “Every response or attempt to harm Israeli sovereignty will be answered decisively and in a clear way, as we did in the past 24 hours.”
Adam Rasgon and Ybader Okbi/ Ma’ariv contributed to this report.