Israel arrests 'Islamic Jihad' leader as threats traded

Israel arrests 'Islamic Jihad' leader as threats traded

"They are playing with fire at the expense of all of Gaza's residents" said Major General Yoav Mordechai, head of the Israeli military authority in the occupied Palestinian territories in an Arabic message on Saturday night.

The event was considered by Islamic Jihad to be "a declaration of war" by Israel, and stated "it is our right to respond to any aggression, including the right to respond to the crime of attacking the tunnel east of Dir al-Balah, where 12 Mujahideen from Al-Qassam and Saraya al-Quds fell".

The terror group has vowed to retaliate for the 12 of its members killed in the tunnel blast, calling Israel's threats against its leaders a "declaration of war". The majority of the two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are sealed inside the coastal enclave due to the continuation of the military blockade imposed by Israel and upheld by Egypt on the southern border.

More than a dozen militants were killed in the collapse and the IDF later revealed it is holding the bodies of five, likely to use as bargaining chips in negotiations over the release of Israeli captives and fallen IDF soldiers.

The Israel Defense Forces blew up the tunnel, which originated in the Gazan city of Khan Younis and crossed into Israeli territory, near Kibbutz Kissufim, on October 30.

The army said later that killing the terrorists was not the primary objective of the tunnel demolition.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday warned Palestinian fighters against carrying out attacks in revenge for the blowing up of a tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into the Jewish state last month.

Senior sources in the Gaza-based militant group stated that, should Islamic Jihad choose to act against Israel, any action would be "for purposes of self-defense" and "deterrence".

"We advise Islamic Jihad's leadership in Damascus to exercise caution and keep things under control". "In any case, we see Hamas as responsible for every attack that emanates from, or is planned against us in, the Gaza Strip", he said.