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Israel refuses to release bodies of Palestinians killed in Gaza tunnel blast

Procession and funeral for the seven Palestinians killed in an Israeli attack on a tunnel in the Gaza Strip on 30 October 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday refused to return the bodies of the five Palestinians who were found by the Israeli army after the Gaza-border tunnel attack last week.

“The government has two major goals. The first is to protect the country, and the second is to build up the country.” Netanyahu said, as quoted by Israel’s Arutz Sheva

“We’re working on both simultaneously. We’re defending our country with a simple rule – we attack whoever attacks us and the second [rule] is that we’re not going to give something for nothing,” he added.

Referring to the two slain soldiers held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu stressed that Israel will return its held civilians to their families. “We will bring our boys home, but I repeat: there are no free gifts,” he reiterated.

Read More: Israel using missing Palestinians in tunnel attack to bargain with Hamas

On Monday, Gaza health ministry announced the killing of seven Palestinians and the injury of 12 others in a tunnel explosion that was carried out by the Israeli forces in Gaza’s southern area of Khan Yunis.

Israel claims that Hamas has been withholding the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who were killed in the last Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014.

Hamas refuses to disclose any information about the held bodies until Israel releases the Palestinians who were arrested in 2014 after they were released in a prisoner exchange deal in 2011. “We will not provide any information in exchange for locating those missing,” Hamas official, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, recently said.

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  • charliematerne

    A little truth in reporting would certainly be nice. The tunnel started “in Gaza” but ended (literally) in Israel.

    • Kaminoyona

      You expect facts and truth from a jihadi site?

    • Rawan Khalil

      you mean the tunnel started in Gaza , Palestine and ended in occupied part of Palestine

      • charliematerne

        No I mean that it started in “Palestinian” occupied Gaza, Israel, and ended in free Israel. Who were you before your birth a few minutes ago?

  • Kaminoyona

    If you build a tunnel with the intent to kill and kidnap people do not expect to return if you enter it.

    • Helen4Yemen

      Ukraine now has a Jew PM. Why is European Jewry still clinging to stolen land?

      • Alexander Malinowski

        Is he Israeli? This is not related.

  • kirby1

    The IDF blew up a tunnel that crossed under the border between Gaza and Israel, and reached a point approximately 2 km from Kibbutz Kissufim.

    At least 7 terrorists were killed who were in the tunnel when it exploded, or who entered it afterwards to try to rescue survivors, and numerous others were injured (Israel radio reports this evening that Hamas claims as many as 14 dead). Some of them were members of the Iran-supported Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), while others were associated with Hamas. Two of the dead were identified as “senior commanders” of PIJ.

    Although PIJ leaders claimed the purpose of the tunnel was to facilitate the capture of IDF soldiers that could then be held for ransom in order to release PIJ terrorists in Israeli jails, the location of the tunnel so close to a civilian kibbutz suggests that it could also have been a target.