Photo Credit: IDF
Inside a Hamas tunnel. (file)

The Palestinian Authority’s leading Fatah faction called Monday’s detonation by the IDF of a terror tunnel discovered leading from Gaza into southern Israel, near Kibbutz Kissufim, to be “the Israeli crime that harmed the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.”

Fatah, led by Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, issued a statement late Monday saying, “This Israeli crime is part of the policy … that successive Israeli governments have taken in an attempt to evade the trials of corruption they face at the expense of the blood of our people.”

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The faction underlined its intent to continue its completion of unity talks with Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization, “despite the attempt by Israel to sabotage” the effort.

“Israel is trying to escalate the situation in order to keep us divided,” said Fatah spokesperson Osasma al-Qawasmi.

Hamas is refusing to relinquish its weapons, renounce violence, abandon terror, and give up its goal of annihilating the Jewish State, although these conditions are part of the requirement for negotiations by any Palestinian Authority government with the international Quartet of nations, and in final status talks with Israel.

The leaders of all terrorist factions in Gaza were gathering Monday after the controlled explosion to decide whether to declare war against Israel in response to the demolition of the terror tunnel, which was still under construction when it was discovered by the IDF.

The tunnel, which led back towards the Gaza city of Khan Younis, was destroyed using new advanced technology. Seven operatives were killed and approximately a dozen others were wounded in the incident, which involved secondary explosions due to explosives that were stored in the tunnel.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.