JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli army destroyed a Hamas terror tunnel that stretched from Gaza into southern Israel.
The tunnel, which was constructed by Hamas after the Gaza War in 2014, was “ready for use,” the IDF spokesman said. It was also connected to a network of tunnels under Gaza, according to the IDF. The opening of the tunnel on the Israel side stretched to Nahal Oz, a community in southern Israel.
According to the IDF, the route of the terror tunnel was identified by Israeli security forces during the early stages of construction and then monitored. IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said in a statement that the demonstrations on the last three Fridays at the Gaza border fence, as well as violent incidents on the border prior to the demonstrations were meant to be a cover for the work on the tunnel near the border.
“The IDF will not allow Israeli civilians to be harmed or Israeli sovereignty to be breached and will continue operating with determination in the face of all forms of terrorism,” Manelis said in a statement. “The Hamas terror organization continues to invest significant resources into its futile terror activities instead of investing in the well-being of its own people,” he also said.
The military destroyed the tunnel by pumping materials into it that render it useless and do not allow for reconstruction, Haaretz reported.
It was described by the IDF as being “long and of high quality.” It stretched about 65 feet into Israel.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a tweet: “We’ve opened the week with an impressive intelligence and operational achievement with the destruction of another tunnel, the longest and deepest exposed thus far.”
He also tweeted: “Millions of dollars were invested in its excavation, money that would have been better served mitigating the plight of residents but has now sunk into the sand. Gaza residents, Hamas is frittering away your money on tunnels leading nowhere. We will get to them all.”
פותחים שבוע בהישג מודיעיני ומבצעי מרשים, עם השמדתה של מנהרת טרור נוספת, הארוכה והעמוקה ביותר שנחשפה עד כה. מנהרה שבחפירתה הושקעו מיליוני דולרים, כסף שבמקום להקל על מצוקת התושבים, טבע בחול. תושבי עזה, חמאס שורף את הכסף שלכם על מנהרות לשום מקום. על כולן נשים את היד.
— אביגדור ליברמן (@AvigdorLiberman) April 15, 2018
It is the eighth terror tunnel running from Gaza into Israel to be discovered in the last several months, and the first to be discovered in northern Gaza. Three of the tunnels were destroyed in Gazan territory and five in Israeli.
The route of the terror tunnel was identified by security forces early on & monitored thereafter. In recent months & especially over the last two weeks, Hamas has turned the area near the security fence into an area of terror & fighting pic.twitter.com/6bJlbpgbmk
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) April 15, 2018