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A Palestinian militant group announced on Friday another five fighters had been killed when Israel blew up a tunnel from the Gaza Strip, bringing the total number of dead to 12, reports AFP.
Islamic Jihad said five more men trapped in the tunnel were dead, naming them. Israel had on Monday carried out a “controlled” explosion on the tunnel crossing the border.
“We announce the death of five new heroes of the Jerusalem Brigades in Zionist bombing,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement, referring to its military wing.
Two of the 12 dead belonged to the militant wing of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, with the other 10 from Islamic Jihad.
Since Monday’s explosion, Israel has refused to allow the Palestinian Civil Defence Authority access to the site to search for survivors.
The International Committee of the Red Cross had asked Israel to enable searches in the tunnel, according to a statement yesterday from COGAT, the defence ministry unit which liaises with the Palestinian territories.
COGAT commander Yoav Mordechai told the head of ICRC in Israel that the Israeli authorities would “not enable searches in the security perimeter in the Gaza Strip, without progress on the issue of the Israeli captives and missing soldiers.”
Israel is seeking the return of two civilians as well as the bodies of two soldiers, believed to have been killed in the 2014 war in Gaza.
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