Netanyahu: Bodies of 5 terrorists to be used in exchanges with Hamas, ‘No free gifts’

The IDF has recovered the bodies of five Palestinian terrorists killed after it destroyed a terror tunnel. They will be used as leverage in possible future exchanges with Hamas. 

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

The IDF uncovered and retrieved the bodies of five Palestinian terrorists who were killed last Monday during the IDF’s demolition of a terror tunnel dug from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

“During ongoing operation to neutralize the terror tunnel that was targeted in Israel on 10/30, the IDF uncovered the bodies of 5 terrorists,” an IDF spokesman tweeted on Sunday .

The five terrorists are believed to be low-ranking foot soldiers and members of Islamic Jihad, the terror group that dug the tunnel.

A total of 14 terrorists were killed in the aftermath of the tunnel collapse, including two senior field commanders.

Islamic Jihad has vowed revenge.

Last week, Israel denied a request by the Hamas terror group, through the Red Cross, to approach the site and recover the bodies.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) head Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai spoke with Jacques De Maio, the Red Cross delegate to Israel, in a conversation during which Mordechai “clarified unequivocally that Israel will not allow a search operation in the Gaza security buffer without progress on the issue of captive and missing Israelis,” COGAT said in a statement.

‘There Are No Free Gifts’

Speaking at an event in northern Israel on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel protects the country “with a simple rule: whoever tries to attack us, we attack them.”

The second rule, he said, is that “we do not give free gifts.”

“We will bring our boys back home, and there are no free gifts,” Netanyahu vowed, clarifying that Israel will not return the bodies of the five Islamic Jihad terrorists before its citizens held by Hamas and the remains of the two dead IDF soldiers are safely returned to Jewish land.

Hamas, which rules Gaza, is believed to be holding the remains of two IDF soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, killed during the 2014 war.

Shaul was killed in battle together with another six Golani soldiers in Shajaiya in 2014 when their armored personnel carrier was hit by an anti-tank rocket. His body was never recovered and is assumed to be held by Hamas.

Goldin was abducted by Hamas and killed during a battle with Hamas terrorists in Shajaiya. Two other IDF soldiers also died in the incident.

In addition, Hamas is believed to be holding three Israeli civilians who scaled a border fence and entered Gaza. Ethiopian-Israeli Avera Mengistu and Bedouin Hisham al-Sayed, both said to be suffering from mental health issues, crossed into Gaza willingly in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and were captured by Hamas. A third Israeli citizen, Bedouin Jumaa Abu Ghanima, entered Gaza in July 2016.

Hamas refused a request by the International Red Cross last month to meet with the Israeli captives.

Israel is expected to hold the terrorists’ bodies as part of a possible exchange pact.