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Arafat Abu Marshould
Hamas commander among 7 terrorists killed in IDF tunnel blast
Seven terrorists reported dead, eleven wounded, after IDF destroys terror tunnel crossing into Israel; dead include head of Islamic Jihad's armed wing in central Gaza, Arafat Abu Marshould and his deputy, a Hamas field commander and two other gunmen; IDF deploys Iron Dome batteries near Gaza border.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip reported Monday afternoon that seven people were killed—among them senior commanders of terror groups—and 11 wounded in an IDF explosion of a recently discovered tunnel located near the border fence which had penetrated into Israeli territory.

 

 

A source in Gaza informed Ynet that two of the people killed belonged to the military arm of the pro-Iranian Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—the second largest terror movement in the strip after the ruling government of Hamas—while a third was a Hamas field commander affiliated with the terror group’s elite Nukhba commando unit.

 

It later emerged that a Hamas militant identified as Marwan al-Ara was also killed in the explosion, along with Misbah Shubir, who may have been the Hamas field commander.

 

Marwan al-Ara (L), Arafat Abu Marshould (C) and Hamas field commander
Marwan al-Ara (L), Arafat Abu Marshould (C) and Hamas field commander

 

According to the source, the commander entered the tunnel to extricate people trapped inside after being wounded in the blast and was killed in a secondary blast likely caused by the igniting of explosive materials inside.

 

Officials from the Hamas military arm have also reported that some of those injured belong to the PIJ.

 

Hamas field commander killed in blast
Hamas field commander killed in blast

 

Preliminary evaluations both in Israel and Gaza deduced that the tunnels were dug by the PIJ militants.

 

One of those killed was head of the faction’s armed wing in central Gaza, Arafat Abu Marshould and his deputy Hassan Abu Hasnin.

 

Marwan al-Ara
Marwan al-Ara

 

A senior associate and two other gunmen were reportedly killed in the blast. The group said it had put its fighters on “full alert.”

 

Two of those killed in the explosion were said to be 25 and 27 years old.

 

 (Photo: Barel Ephraim)
(Photo: Barel Ephraim)

 

While the group did not claim responsibility for the tunnel, it said on Monday evening after the controlled IDF explosion: “We will defend ourselves and our land."

 

Anticipating possible rocket attacks, the IDF positioned Iron Dome batteries nearby.

 

Iron Dome battery (Photo: AFP)
Iron Dome battery (Photo: AFP)

 

Earlier in the day, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit confirmed that the Southern Command carried out a controlled detonation of the tunnel which was located near the border fence with Gaza, near the South Gaza city of Khan Yunis.

 

IDF Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis stated that "we now have possession of the tunnel, and it no longer constitutes a threat."

 

 (Photo: AP)
(Photo: AP)

 

Officials from the Hamas military arm have also reported that some of those injured belong to the PIJ.

 

 (Photo: AFP)
(Photo: AFP)

 

A further indication that the PIJ stood behind the tunnel was a statement issued Monday evening by one of its spokesmen, Da’ud Shihab, whose comments fell just shy of taking explicit responsibility.

 

“This tunnel is part of our deterrence policies to defend the Palestinian people,” Shihab said. “We won't hesitate to defend our land. The Israeli attack that harmed a group of fighters and civilians is a dangerously aggressive escalation, and a new attempt to shuffle the cards. We are examining all possibilities in order not to lose the option of responding to this aggression.”

 


First published: 30.10.17, 18:06
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