|Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a cabinet meeting.
(photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
>Israel says it’s holding bodies of Gaza terrorists killed in tunnel blast
Likud MK: Bodies of terrorists from tunnel blast are bargaining chips
Israel has no intention of freely handing over the five bodies of Islamic Jihadist terrorists killed last week when the IDF exploded a tunnel they had built into Israel under the Gaza border.
plan to return our sons home. There are no free gifts,” Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday in a brief statement he delivered in
He did not specify the Islamic Jihad as the target of his
remarks or mention the tunnel incident. Still, his statement appeared to
hint at the terms for a swap of the terrorist bodies for Israelis held
This includes the remains of two soldiers held in Gaza: Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul
both of whom are presumed to have been killed during the 2014 war. In
addition there are three Israelis suffering from mental illness who are
believed to be held captive in Gaza: Avera Mengistu, 30, Hisham
al-Sayed, 29, and Jumaa Abu Ghanima, 19.
The prime minister spoke
less than a day after returning from London, where he hammered home the
message that Israel plans to defend itself from its enemies.
“This government has two clear missions; to build the country and to defend it,” Netanyahu said.
He continued, “We plan to defend it based on clear rules; those who attack us, will be attacked.”
his faction meeting in the Knesset later in the day, Finance Minster
Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) lauded Netanyahu’s decision not to return the
bodies and promised that resources would be available to protect the
citizens of Israel from attack including on the Gaza border.
“As long as we have soldiers and civilians inside the Gaza Strip, we cannot afford to conduct ourselves as usual,” Kahlon said.
Earlier in the day Labor party head Avi Gabby had urged Netanyahu to take this step.
terrorists were killed when the IDF blew up the tunnel, but on Sunday,
the IDF announced that it held the remains of five of the bodies.