Israel Strikes Hamas Target After Gaza Rocket Intercepted

Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli army said it found an attack tunnel stretching several dozen meters from southern Gaza Strip into Israel

Yaniv Kubovich
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Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, August 22, 2020
Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, August 22, 2020Credit: Moti Milrod
Yaniv Kubovich

The Israel Air Force struck an underground Hamas infrastructure in the southern Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said Tuesday, adding that it came as a response to a rocket launched from the Strip at Israel earlier.

Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza on Tuesday, a few hours after the military said it had uncovered an offensive tunnel that runs from the Gaza Strip and into Israeli territory, adding that it is not known to which Gaza faction the tunnel belongs, but that it held Hamas responsible.

The army said it exposed the tunnel on Tuesday, between the road along the border fence and the wall being constructed along the entire border with the Gaza Strip.

The tunnel, which runs near Khan Yunis in the southern Strip, is tens of meters deep and runs tens of meters into Israeli territory, according to the statement. It was discovered by technological means during Israel's construction of an underground barrier.

The statement added that the tunnel's digging was nearly complete but that at no stage did it pose a danger to Israeli communities in the area.

The Israeli army said it viewed Hamas as being responsible for building the tunnel and that forces will act in the next few days to demolish it. “I don’t know what the response will be. We will neutralize the tunnel and examine the developments later,” said Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman.

Other tunnels have been discovered in the past in the area where the latest tunnel was found. Since the work on the barrier with Gaza began, other tunnels were discovered that the military kept under full surveillance, in a manner that did not allow them to be used.

Parts of the both the underground and aboveground barrier with the Gaza Strip still need to be completed and are expected to be finished in March 2021.