Israeli delegations meet with Palestinian leadership in Ramallah

Violet Powell
October 31, 2017

IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis told reporters the tunnel was discovered in Israeli territory, near the border fence, opposite the city of Khan Younis.

Two of those killed were members of the pro-Iranian Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and a third was a Hamas field commander affiliated with the Nukhba commando unit, according to a Gaza source cited by Ynet. The tunnel was being built by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.

However, the group was calling for a military response to the Israeli tunnel action.

Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for the Hamas-led Gazan health ministry, confirmed seven men had been killed, with a further 12 injured.

He did not explain why Israel chose to detonate the tunnel this week, although the presence of fighters inside may have triggered the Israeli action.

Greenblatt said Monday the meeting between Kahlon and Hamdallah was a sign of "important progress. between Israeli and Palestinian sides", saying "meaningful steps" were taken to promote peace. The tunnel ended just over a mile from the Israeli village of Kissufum, which he said was the assumed target.

Conricus called the tunnel a "grave and unacceptable violation of Israeli sovereignty" for which he held Hamas responsible.

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The demolition was carried out in a controlled explosion that was scheduled ahead of time by the IDF.

The tunnel was reportedly discovered around two weeks ago, and prompted the United Nations agency to close the school while it sealed the tunnel's opening.

"We are developing breakthrough technology to deal with the tunnel threat", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

Israeli soldiers patrol close to the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on October 30, 2017, near Kibbutz Kissufim in southern Israel.

The incident comes only days before Hamas is expected to hand over control of Gaza's borders to the internationally recognized Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA).

Israel and the United States have meanwhile said that Hamas must disarm as part of any unity government.

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