Israel has uncovered around 20 such tunnels since the 2014 war with the Islamic terror group Hamas.
By Associated Press
The Israeli military announced Tuesday that terrorists in the Gaza Strip dug a tunnel dozens of meters (yards) deep that crossed the security fence around the territory before it was detected by underground sensors.
Hours after the announcement, a rocket fired from Gaza was intercepted by Israeli missile defenses, the military said. There were no reports of casualties or damage.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said the tunnel crossed into Israeli territory but posed “no threat” to nearby Israeli communities and that there was not yet an exit on the other side. He said troops are “neutralizing” the tunnel.
Israel has uncovered around 20 such tunnels since the 2014 war with the Islamic terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza. Palestinian terrorists launched deadly attacks through such tunnels during the war.
There was no immediate comment from Hamas.
The tunnels, as well as Hamas’ increasingly sophisticated rocket capabilities, have necessitated an Israeli-Egyptian blockade on Gaza since the terror group seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.
Conricus said the tunnel was detected by sensors mounted on an underground barrier being built along the 55-kilometer (35-mile) frontier. The barrier is expected to be completed by March. It’s the first such tunnel to be uncovered in more than a year.
Conricus said it was not yet clear whether the tunnel was built by Hamas or another group, but that it would have required a significant financial investment. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza.
Israel and Hamas have clashed on a number of occasions since the 2014 war. An informal cease-fire brokered by Egypt has brought calm in exchange for the easing of the blockade and the entry of financial aid from the oil-rich Gulf state of Qatar, but fighting still erupts from time to time.