Israeli Army: Two Gaza Tunnels Destroyed Overnight

One of the tunnels was struck before Hamas could make it operational, military spokesman says

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The tunnel near Rafiah, March 18, 2018
The tunnel near Rafiah, March 18, 2018Credit: IDF Spokesperson

The Israeli military said it destroyed overnight Sunday two tunnels in Gaza.

One of the tunnels, in the southern Gaza Strip, belonged to Hamas and was destroyed before the militant group could make it operational again, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. The second tunnel was sealed from Israeli territory, near Rafiah.

This comes in response to the recent explosive devices placed by militants on the border.

"The IDF destroyed two more terror tunnels tonight," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement Sunday. "Our policy is to act with determination against every attempt to harm us, and to systematically destroy the terror tunnel infrastructure, and so shall we continue. It is time for the international community to recognize that the financial aid going to Gaza is buried underground."

"We are monitoring developments, and we decided to attack the tunnel before it crossed over to Israel," said IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis on Sunday morning. According to him, the tunnel near Rafiah was sealed using a method that does not allow for any future rehabilitation.

Destruction of the tunnel, March 18, 2018Credit: IDF Spokesperson

Manelis added that Israel considers Hamas responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip. "Hamas is the sovereign of Gaza Strip as far as we're concerned, and is responsible for the results and outcomes. We don't care who's accountable for the charges, Hamas will bear the responsilibity," said Maglis, who assessed there is no concern for a developing security, and that the residents of the area were not in present and immediate danger.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday morning: "Israel systematically destroys one Hamas tunnel after the other, thanks to quality intelligence and ground-breaking technology." According to Lieberman, "whoever thinks they can hurt us underground is met with an iron wall. Hamas has spent billions on the tunnel projects and now they're drowning in sand. I recommend Hamas invest the money in the welfare of Gaza's resident because by the year's end their tunnel project will be destroyed." 

A Gaza attack tunnel destroyed by Israel in January.Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

Overnight Saturday, the IDF said it struck a Hamas target in retaliation for an explosion on Israel's border with the Strip the day before. Reports in Gaza said the Israel Air Force struck targets in the enclave's center and south.

The explosive device that detonated Saturday caused no casualties or damage, according to the IDF. Shortly after the blast, the military said it retaliated with tank fire, destroying a Hamas outpost. This was the fourth incident in which explosive devices were detonated near the border fence in the last four weeks.

Media outlets based in Gaza said Israeli forces fired three shells at a Hamas post east of Gaza City. One man was lightly wounded and taken to Al-Shifa Hospital, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza stated

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