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IDF says it didn’t mean to kill senior Islamic Jihad members in tunnel blast

The IDF says its demolition of a Gazan attack tunnel that entered Israeli territory was intended to destroy the tunnel only, not “in any way” to kill the two senior members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group who died in the explosion.

In statements, the army says that most of the people who died in the attack were killed by secondary effects of the bombing after they ran back into the tunnel following the Israeli strike, “not as a result of the explosion.”

The army also denies Palestinian media reports that it used gases and other chemicals to increase the lethality of the attack.

“There was no intention in any way or at any stage to hurt senior figures,” IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis says. “Those people died in their own territory.”

Manelis adds that the army holds Hamas “responsible for what happens above- and below-ground.”

The comments come after both the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas released their own statements, threatening retaliation.

In Arabic, the IDF writes on Twitter that it acted “in a legitimate manner” when it “blew up a terrorist tunnel where it violated Israeli sovereignty.”

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