On Monday Israel detonated a tunnel from Gaza into its territory killing five
Islamic Jihad said it will wait for a ‘suitable time’ for revenge for the fighters
This is because Gaza’s Hamas rulers want to keep tensions with Israel at bay
A Palestinian Islamist terror group has vowed to avenge five of its fighters who were killed when Israel collapsed a tunnel entering its territory from Gaza.
But Islamic Jihad said it will wait for a ‘suitable time’ for revenge as Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Egyptian mediators try to keep tensions with Israel at bay.
After painstaking rescue operations, the Iran-backed terror group said on Friday the militants’ remains were found on the Israeli side of the tunnel.
Israel detonated the tunnel inside its territory on Monday raising tensions along the border to a level unseen since a 2014 Israel-Hamas war.
Seven other militants, including two Hamas members, were suffocated by smoke, dust or possibly toxic fumes when they rushed into the tunnel to rescue others.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the secret tunnel – ‘a gross violation of Israeli sovereignty’ – was found ‘due to a significant technological breakthrough’ and destroyed ‘for operational reasons’.
The army did not say how the tunnel was destroyed but Palestinian sources claimed it was bombed by the Israel Air Force.
Israel denied reports the tunnel was bombed as an assassination attempt on Hamas commanders and denied that toxic fumes were deliberately sent into the tunnel.
Lieberman insisted Israel has no interest in an escalation but said ‘The Strip is still the terror kingdom,’ amid fears of retaliation.
It comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he hoped a US peace initiative would work and praised President Donald Trump for taking a fresh approach to bringing the Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations.
For at least two decades, the goal of US-led diplomacy has been a ‘two-state solution’, meaning an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side and at peace with Israel.
But neither Trump nor his aides have publicly recommitted to a two-state solution, instead saying it is up to the two parties to work out in peace talks.
Asked during a visit to London to commemorate the 1917 British declaration of support for a Jewish homeland if he felt now was the moment for peace in the region, noting Trump’s involvement in peace efforts, he said: ‘Hope so.’
‘What’s being discussed now is an American initiative. Obviously we make our interests and our concerns known to Mr Trump. He’s coming with a sort of refreshing ‘can-do’ thing… they’re trying to think out of the box,’ Netanyahu said at London’s Chatham House think-tank.
Netanyahu has previously expressed doubts about the Trump initiative, telling France’s President Emmanuel Macron in July that it would be difficult to move forward quickly because he felt Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas may not be able to deliver on commitments he had made.
But he said that more countries in the region were now beginning to engage constructively with Israel.
‘The reason I draw hope from the moment is because of the larger shift in Arab-Israeli relations with the countries of the region. I cannot emphasise how dramatic that is,’ he said.
The Palestinians seek to establish an independent state in the Israeli occupied West Bank, territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Most Israelis want all of Jerusalem as their capital and reject a full return to 1967 borderlines as a threat to their security.
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About:Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.
The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine known in the West as simply Palestinian Islamic Jihad, is a Palestinian Islamist terror organization formed in 1981 whose objective is the destruction of the …
Leaders: Fathi Shaqaqi, Ramadan Shalah, Abd Al Aziz Awda
Founders: Fathi Shaqaqi, Abd Al Aziz Awda
Founded: 1 November 1981, Gaza Strip
Political position: Islamism