AKIPRESS.COM - Seven Palestinian militants were killed on Monday when Israel blew up what it said was a tunnel being dug underneath the Gaza Strip border.
Hamas said Israel had made a “futile attempt to sabotage efforts to repair Palestinian unity”, a reference to the reconciliation agreement it reached with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, earlier this month, Reuters reported.
However, neither Israel nor Hamas seemed eager to seek escalation. Israel was at pains to point out that its action against the tunnel was carried out on its own side of the border.
“The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) does not intend to escalate the situation but stands prepared for a variety of scenarios,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman.
“The working assumption is that this is not the only tunnel that Palestinian terrorist organizations are trying to dig.”
The tunnel was being dug from the Gaza town of Khan Younis across the border, where it was blown up, Conricus said.
A source for the Islamic Jihad militant group said the head of the faction’s armed wing in central Gaza was killed along with a senior associate and other gunmen. It vowed revenge saying “all options are open for response.”