Tunnel Operation Thwarted Kidnap Plot

YERUSHALAYIM -

A statement from a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) on Tuesday appeared to confirm previous reports that the tunnel blown up by the IDF on Monday was intended for use in kidnapping Israeli civilians, to be held hostage for PIJ terrorists, according to Ynet.

Senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) member Khaled al-Batsh alluded that the tunnel the IDF detonated on Monday on the Gaza border was intended for kidnapping Israeli civilians, who would then be exchanged for imprisoned PIJ terrorists.

“The freedom tunnel that was attacked yesterday by the enemy was meant for the release of our prisoners,” PIJ’s Khaled al-Batsh said, adding that they will have “another tunnel for the release of the prisoners” in the future.

Meanwhile, Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Tuesday that his organization would not retaliate immediately but would bide its time, until the Palestinian reconciliation agreement can stabilize.

“The response to this massacre is to move forward toward the restoration of national unity because the enemy knows that our strength is in our unity and no people under occupation can win if they are not united,” Haniyeh said.

Hamas accused Israel of seeking to torpedo the unity talks with the tunnel demolition.

Egyptian officials were in contact with Hamas late Monday counseling restraint to allow the reconciliation to continue, according to media reports.