Body of Hamas member found in Gaza tunnel following last week's clashes with Israel
A Hamas member's dead body was found in a tunnel in Gaza Saturday, according to Agency France-Presse.
AFP's source said that the body has been identified as Khaled Abu Bakr and was recovered “from a tunnel after digging for more than 20 meters (yards) underground near the border [with Israel in the central Gaza Strip].”
Four other Hamas leaders were killed late Thursday in clashes with Israeli troops who were attempting to destroy the tunnel during a raid operation. A Hamas member told AFP on the condition of anonymity that the Gaza men were killed " “in a clash with (Israeli) soldiers ... inside the tunnel when [an] explosion happened and it was shelled by Israeli tanks and aircraft”.
Rescue workers and the International Committee for the Red Cross started digging for the missing bodies from the clashes early Saturday. All the bodies have been found and one of the victims, Rabbieh Barikeh, was buried Friday. According to a Hamas spokesman, Egypt helped to persuade Israel to allow the teams to dig for the bodies.
At the time of the clashes, Israel released a conflicting report saying that fighting broke out between the two sides when an explosive went off as the troops were clearing a tunnel connecting Gaza and Israel that has allegedly been used to launch attacks on the Jewish state. According to Israel's report, five Jewish soldiers were wounded from the clashes.
Hamas health minister Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP that the emergency crews would resume searches Monday to find other bodies from the clashes.