The tunnel running beneath the Gaza Strip and extending into Israeli territory that was blown up by the Israeli army on Monday was intended to serve as a platform from which to kidnap Israeli civilians to trade for its imprisoned loyalists according to a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Khaled Al-Batsch vowed another “freedom tunnel” would replace the one destroyed. In Israel, the army spokesman has come under criticism for seemingly apologizing for killing seven terrorists who were in the tunnel or who died of asphyxiation or suffocation after entering the tunnel following the explosions. When it became known that the casualties included senior commanders of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis stressed that the operation was not a targeted assassination and that no individual was an intended victim. Many, including Education Minister Naftali Bennett, took umbrage with Manelis’s remarks, reproaching what seemed to be more of an apology than a warning that a similar fate awaits those who threaten Israelis.
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