The threat of retaliation by Islamic Jihad is not over yet, a senior commander in the IDF Southern Command said on Wednesday, two days after the IDF blew up a tunnel that ran from the Gaza Strip to Israel, an operation in which nine terrorists were killed and five are said to be missing.“I believe that it will be hard for them to hold back, and there is a possibility that they already decided what their answer will look like,” he said. “They are now in a dilemma. They have restraints coming from Hamas, which wishes to advance the reconciliation [with Fatah], but on the other hand they have their own agenda, and they receive directions from Iran.“I do not rule out a possibility in which the Iranians, who influence Islamic Jihad, will take advantage of the retaliation option in order to harm the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas,” the commander said.Two of the terrorists who were killed in the tunnel were senior commanders in the al-Quds Brigades, the military arm of Islamic Jihad, according to media reports. Soldiers from Hamas’s navy commandos were also among those who were killed. It is believed that they were killed at the Palestinian side of the tunnel a short time after the explosion, while they were inside trying to rescue others who were trapped.
The tunnel ran from the southern town of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip to approximately two kilometers from the border community of Kissufim.
View from Gaza as IDF blows up Hamas tunnel reaching into Israeli territory, October 30, 2017. (Courtesy)