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Tensions Rise After Israel Blows Up Tunnel From Gaza
Tensions Rise After Israel Blows Up Tunnel From Gaza

Tensions Rise After Israel Blows Up Tunnel From Gaza

Tensions Rise After Israel Blows Up Tunnel From Gaza

Tensions rose Tuesday after an Israeli operation to blow up a tunnel from the Gaza Strip killed seven Palestinian militants in one of the deadliest incidents since a devastating 2014 war.
The seven men, from the armed wings of Gaza’s rulers Hamas and allied group Islamic Jihad, were killed Monday when Israel blew up the tunnel it said had crossed into its territory and was intended for attacks, AFP reported.
They were being buried Tuesday in their respective neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya appeared at a funeral in central Gaza attended by a few thousand people, witnesses said, while senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Hayya spoke at one in the southern part of the strip.
“(Hamas) knows how to manage the conflict with the enemy and how to get revenge and strike at the time and place that hurts the enemy,” Hayya said, according to a statement.
Hamas and Israel have fought three wars since 2008 and the last conflict in 2014 was waged in part over tunnels from Gaza that were used to carry out attacks.
Israel said the operation was carried out on the Israeli side of the border and stressed it was not seeking a further escalation.
The operation comes at a sensitive time, with rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas pursuing a reconciliation accord aimed at ending their 10-year rift.
Hamas is due to hand over control of the enclave’s borders to the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday under the deal mediated by Egypt and signed on October 12.
It is due to return the Gaza Strip to full PA control by December 1.
Both Haniya and Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah spoke of ensuring the reconciliation pact remains on track.
“The response to this massacre... is to move forward towards the restoration of national unity because the enemy realizes our strength is our unity,” Haniya said.
Senior PA official Mustafa Barghouti accused Israel of trying to disrupt the reconciliation bid.
Wednesday’s scheduled handover of the border crossings is a first key test of the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal.

 

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