Seven Palestinians died Monday when the Israeli military blew up a tunnel leading into the country from Gaza, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.
The Israeli military said it destroyed the tunnel, which traveled underneath the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza and crossed underneath the Israeli border, in a “controlled demolition” in Israel.
Gaza health officials said nine people sustained injuries and four of the dead were Islamic Jihad members including central Gaza commander Arafat Abu Marshould and his deputy, Hassan Abu Hassanein.
Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the tunnel was discovered less than 2 miles from the Israeli village of Kissufim and described it as a “grave and unacceptable violation of Israeli sovereignty.”
Conricus added it seemed the tunnel had been built after the conflict between Israel and Gaza in 2014 and was an “active” construction Israeli forces had been monitoring for some time.
“Those who try to harm us, we harm them,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Today we detected a tunnel and destroyed it and we will continue to do so.”
Daoud Shehab, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad, said Israel’s bombing of the tunnel was “a terrorist aggression,” adding Palestinian resistance factions retain the right to respond “at the suitable time.”