Israeli Army Seals Hamas Attack Tunnel Stretching Below the Gaza Border

Despite crossing the border, the tunnel did not pose a threat to local residents the military said, as it was blocked by Israel's defense barrier

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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IDF forces working to seal a Hamas attack tunnel near the Gaza border on Sunday.
IDF forces working to seal a Hamas attack tunnel near the Gaza border on Sunday.Credit: Military spokesperson
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

The Israeli army announced Monday that it has sealed an attack tunnel that Hamas dug from the northern Gaza Strip toward Israel. According to the IDF, the tunnel extended under the border between Gaza into Israeli territory but was halted by the underground defensive barrier that Israel completed along the border in December. It therefore did not pose a danger to residents on the Israeli side.

Nimrod Aloni, the outgoing commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division, said the tunnel had been attacked during last year’s war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, but added that Hamas had recently begun rebuilding it.

The tunnel extended from Gaza City and approached Kibbutz Alumim, near the border, Aloni said, at which point it branched off into a second tunnel.

IDF forces working in the Hamas attack tunnel on Sunday.Credit: Military spokesperson.

Aloni explained that during the short-lived bout of fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad in Gaza earlier this month, work on the tunnel had come to a halt, but that on Sunday "the forces finished sealing it”. The IDF is aware of other tunnels constructed by Hamas, he noted, but they don’t extend beyond the Israeli border barrier either.

Following the 2014 Gaza war, Hamas established a network of thousands of kilometers of tunnels designed to enable Hamas to fight Israel in the course of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. The IDF has mapped the locations of the tunnels using advanced technology that it developed in recent years.

During operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021 the Israeli military forces targeted a network of defensive underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip, built by Hamas in past years, in extensive overnight strikes. Dozens of Hamas operatives were killed in the strikes.

As about 160 Israeli jets were ready to take off, ground forces began a maneuver as if they were preparing to enter the Strip. Hamas forces then quickly entered the tunnels. The Air Force struck targets for over 40 minutes, while ground forces were on standby to shoot anyone emerging from the tunnels.

In December Israel completed the defense barrier, which stretches the entire border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, after three and a half years of work. The barrier is 65 kilometers long, and cost an estimated 3.5 billion shekels ($1.11 billion) to build. Its development was announced in 2016, two years after Hamas used underground tunnels to target Israeli troops during fighting between Israel and the militant group.

The barrier features a sensor-equipped underground wall, a six-meter high above-ground fence, and a barrier at sea with monitoring equipment to detect incursions from the water. In addition, the wall includes remotely controlled weapons systems and an array of radar systems with cameras that cover the entire territory of the Gaza Strip.

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