The Israel Defense Forces has discovered a tunnel running across the border with the Gaza Strip which security forces believe Palestinian militants were planning to use to enter Israel and attack soldiers or civilians.
- WB Incidents Still Short of Intifada Threshold
- Army Finds Mega-tunnel From Gaza
- Army: Gaza Tunnel Was for Kidnapping
- Army Calls Gazans, Insults Hamas
- Hamas Says It Dug Gaza Tunnel
- Israeli Soldiers Enter Gaza, 5 Wounded
- Million Gazans to Need Food Aid in 2014
IDF soldiers discovered the entrance to the tunnel on Israeli territory near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha just over a week ago, and spent several days destroying it. Media was only allowed to report on the discovery on Sunday.
The tunnel was wide and could easily have been used to abduct Israeli soldiers, as Palestinian militants did with Gilad Shalit in June 2006, military officials said. A few entrances were discovered to the tunnel, officials said.
A similar tunnel was discovered near Kibbutz Nir Oz, along the Gaza border, last January. Likewise, an explosives-laden tunnel about four meters deep was found last year near Kibbutz Nirim just before the outbreak of Operation Pillar of Defense. All three of these tunnels were in the same area, beginning in southeastern Gaza, near Khan Yunis.
A military official has previously assessed that there are far more cross-border attack tunnels such as these, saying only that the number is likely in the double digits.
Council leaders near the Gaza Strip urged the IDF in the wake of the tunnel's discovery to rescind its recent decisions to stop deploying troops to guard their communities and to pull funding for the security vehicles in the area.