IDF Spokesman Peter Lerner says seven Hamas operatives were killed in a terror tunnel near Rafah overnight that had been bombed by the Israel Air Force a few days earlier, after the seven entered the tunnel and meddled with their own explosives which had been stashed there.
The operatives “were in a tunnel with special infrastructure and strength and designated for a significant attack against soldiers.” He says the airstrike was carried out a few days ago “and last night the Hamas members touched the explosives — which is what caused the tunnel to explode. This was a significant tunnel that was a top priority [for the IDF].”
Lerner adds that on account of the deaths “we understand that there is a potential of escalation.”
If last week the IDF wished to convey a message of a defensive deployment, Lerner says, today there is “a preparedness for escalation.”