For the first time since Operation Protective Edge, Israeli forces exposed a Hamas terror tunnel meant to facilitate the entry of terrorists into the heart of Israel’s territory.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
Israeli forces have uncovered a long and deep-running Hamas terror tunnel extending from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, the first to be found since Operation Protective Edge almost two years ago.
The IDF cleared for publication on Monday that earlier this week, following combined efforts by intelligence, technology and ground forces, the IDF and the Shin bet (Israel’s Security Agency) uncovered and neutralized a terror tunnel, the exit of which was found tens of meters away from the security fence.
“The tunnel was built by Hamas in order to infiltrate Israel and execute terror attacks against the people of the southern communities. The IDF will continue its counter terror efforts to uncover and neutralize Hamas’ offensive tunnels,” the IDF said in a statement.
“The ugly truth is that Hamas continues to invest millions of dollars to build tunnels of terror and death,” stated IDF spokesmen Lt. Col. Peter Lerner. “The tunnel uncovered in Israel demonstrates once more Hamas’ warped priorities and continued commitment and investment in tools of violence.
“This tunnel exposes Hamas’ abhorrent intentions to attack the men, women and children of southern Israel,” he added.
The tunnel extended about 100 meters (325 feet) from Gaza into Israel and was lined with cement and outfitted with electricity and ventilation, Lerner said.
Hamas has built a sophisticated network of tunnels that it has used to penetrate Israel to carry out terrorist attacks on civilians and soldiers and smuggle goods and weapons in and out of Gaza through the Sinai Peninsula.
The IDF destroyed most of the tunnels during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, but Hamas has since been working vigorously to rebuild the network which they use for military build-up, many times at the expense of innocent Gazans from whom they steal building materials.
Speaking in February, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said that the IDF’s number one mission is to counter the threat posed by Hamas’ attack tunnels emanating from Gaza.
Eisenkot said destroying this network is the IDF’s top priority for 2016, adding that it is not deceived by the relative quiet along the Israel-Gaza border.