Hamas terror group threatened Monday evening that an IDF explosion of a terror tunnel earlier in the day that had crossed into Israeli territory from Gaza and resulted in the death of 12 Muslim terrorists constitutes a “grave escalation.”
Among those killed were senior commanders of terror groups while another 11 were wounded in the explosions.
The terror tunnel was detonated on the Israeli side of the fence. Gazan terrorists were killed from secondary explosions.
Most terrorists were killed entering the tunnel after the explosion.
Two of the terrorists killed belonged to the military arm of the pro-Iranian Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—the second largest terror movement in the strip after the ruling government of Hamas—while a third was a Hamas field commander who belonged to the terror group’s elite Nukhba commando unit.
It later emerged that a Hamas terrorist identified as Marwan al-Ara was also killed in the explosion, along with Misbah Shubir, who may have been the Hamas field commander.
Unlike a statement issued by the PIJ, which said Israel’s actions were a “declaration of war” and added that it would examine all options for reprisals, Hamas’s remarks were devoid of any mention of a possible retaliation.
Hamas claims its terrorists were killed and injured as they attempted to rescue Islamic Jihad terrorists from the initial explosion.
This claim can be interpreted as an attempt by Hamas to isolate the detonated terror tunnel as a project of the Islamic Jihad, due to its precarious situation.
The IDF have declared the Gaza border region a closed military zone due to concerns of a response by terror factions.
Homefront Command ordered all shelters open in Southern Israel, forbids large gathering. The IDF positioned Iron Dome batteries nearby.
Arab reports of Israeli warplanes conducting low level flights over Gaza in the past hours.