No proof has been provided to back up a wild Palestinian accusation that Israel used poison gas in the missiles used to destroy a terror tunnel on the border with Gaza.
On Monday, Israel blew up a tunnel being constructed by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations that had penetrated Israeli territory near Kibbutz Kisufim.
Secondary explosions then occurred within the tunnel due to the detonation of explosives that were stored there, leaving seven dead, including senior terrorist commanders, and at least 12 injured and five missing.
The Palestinian Authority, which recently signed a reconciliation deal with Hamas and began taking over administration of the Gaza Strip as well as control over its border crossings, chose to condemn Israel for its defensive action.
According to a report by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the PA then went further, as the Gazan Ministry of Health spokesman, Ashraf Al-Qudra, went on official PA TV Monday to say, “Most of the injuries among the Martyrs (Shahids) and wounded occurred during the inhalation of gas.” Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, doubled down on the claim the next day, reporting that a medical source in the Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital “revealed that poison gas was used in the missiles that hit the tunnel,” reported
No missiles were used in the attack, and neither speaker provided any evidence to back his words.
With regards to the five missing operatives, the Hamas-linked al-Rai website reported on Thursday that Hamas officials asked the International Committee of the Red Cross to request permission on its behalf from Israel to search for them in a buffer zone that Israel has set up dozens of meters deep in the border region.
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai promptly reacted to the Red Cross request in a statement, saying that lsrael “will not allow for locating the terrorists in the tunnel without progress on the issue of missing and captive Israelis.”
Hamas has been holding the bodies of two Israeli soldiers – Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul – it captured in Operation Protective Edge three years ago. It is also believed to be keeping prisoner three Israeli civilians who went into Gaza of their own accord, Avraham Abera Mengistu, Hisham al-Sayed and Juma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima.
The terror organization has said that it will only release them if Israel sets free dozens of prisoners who were rearrested after being set free in the 2011 Schalit prisoner exchange for their ongoing terror activity.
Yet a Hamas official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said in response to Mordechai’s answer, “Setting this condition affirms that this entity [Israel] does not act in a humanitarian way. This is just another one of many Israeli war crimes.”
With files from Palestinian Media Watch.