Israel Bars Tourists From Visiting Gaza Border as Palestinian Islamic Jihad Vows Revenge

Rescue workers and a member of Palestinian security forces search for missing or dead militants in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, after the tunnel was blown up on Nov. 3. Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters file

Israel has barred tourists from visiting part of its border with Gaza amid fears an Iranian-funded militant group is planning to retaliate for the destruction of a cross-border tunnel.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is classed as a terrorist organization by the United States, has vowed revenge after Israel blew up the underground passage two weeks ago, killing 12.

Israeli officials said the tunnel stretched from Gaza into Israel and was designed to allow civilians to be kidnapped.

PIJ called the blast targeting the tunnel a “cowardly act” and an “aggressive escalation,” warning that the blood of those killed “would not be wasted,” according to statements published in the Palestinian press.

Following these warnings, tourists were banned from three sites, the Israeli Defense Forces said Tuesday.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said this was to protect them from sniper fire.

In addition, the IDF also confirmed to NBC News that it had deployed its Iron Dome missile defense system near Tel Aviv.

Officials have also restricted the amount of time farmers are allowed to work in fields near the border, Haaretz added.

The newspaper said the military was on “high alert.”

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SOURCE: NBC News, Paul Goldman