The Israeli military destroyed a "significant" attack tunnel this weekend reaching from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. The Israeli military said that it is clear that Hamas was behind the tunnel.
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This is the second Gaza attack tunnel Israel has destroyed in the past six weeks. While the existence of the tunnel was revealed on Sunday, it had been discovered earlier, the miltiary said.
According to the military, the tunnel found leads into agriculture fields near Kibbutz Nirim, near the Gaza border.
“The tunnel that was thwarted today was a very significant tunnel and [built] to higher standards than what we are used to seeing,” said IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis.
The IDF does not know if any Palestinians who were killed as a result of the destruction of the tunnel, he added.
The tunnel was discovered using new technology that the army has recently begun utilising. The same techonology was used in the discovery of the attack tunnel built by Islamic Jihad a few weeks ago.
As opposed to the previous tunnel that was destroyed using a large amounts of explosives, this time the tunnel was destroyed using a combination of special forces, intelligence and engineering units.
“We have acheived new technological capabilities in the fight against tunnel terror,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
The joint efforts by the IDF, Defense Ministry and defense industries have led to new technologies in the fight against terror tunnels, he said.
“I hope that in coming months the threat of the tunnels to the residents of the Gaza border area will become a thing of the past,” said Lieberman.
Manelis said forces had detected the tunnel months ago but continued to monitor construction efforts by Hamas militants before demolishing it.
He said the tunnel was not complete, but was "very substantial," equipped with electricity, communications equipment and a ventilation system. It was located about 1 kilometer (half a mile) from an Israeli community.
“Hamas is responsible for everything that happens in Gaza, in the air, on land and underground,” said Manelis. “The terrorist organizations understand that we will not accept a violation of [Israeli] sovereignty.”
“The other side must understand that these tunnels will become a death trap for those who dig them,” said Manelis. The IDF does not know of any Palestinians who were killed as a result of the destruction of the tunnel, he added.
In October, the Israeli army bombed an attack tunnel that had been dug from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory by terror group Islamic Jihad. Two Islamic Jihad commanders and a Hamas field commander were killed in strike. Four others were killed in the strike, and 11 more were injured.
With reporting by The Associated Press