Israeli army destroys mile-long Hamas tunnel used to target southern Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli army destroyed a tunnel built by the terrorist group Hamas that crossed from Gaza into Israel.

The tunnel, nearly a mile long, originated in the Khan Younis area of the central Gaza Strip and stretched more than 200 yards into Israeli territory. It branched off in several places to connect to the network of Hamas tunnels under Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said, and was equipped with power and telephone lines.

The IDF said in a statement that it was the 15th tunnel that it has located and destroyed in the past year, part of a network of Hamas tunnels designed to enable the terrorist group to launch attacks on southern Israeli communities.

The tunnel was located several months ago, according to the IDF, but the timing of the destruction was decided in coordination with other operational considerations. The IDF also studied the tunnel and its connection to other Gaza fighting tunnels inside the Strip.

The IDF spokesman’s office said in a tweet that Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, invested some $3 million worth of cement and electrical equipment, as well as hours of labor into the tunnel.

“Today, we can say we have newly improved technological means for the discovery, location and thwarting of tunnel activity,” said the spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis. “The Hamas terrorist organization continues to invest considerable resources in establishing infrastructures aimed at harming Israeli citizens. This economic investment, which comes at the expense of the well being of residents, is a sign for the Strip’s inhabitants that their regime prefers to invest in terror rather than in other things.”

Hours before the announcement of the destruction, on Thursday morning, the Iron Dome missile defense system was activated, causing Code Red rocket sirens to sound in several Israeli communities located near the border with Gaza. The army said the system was triggered accidentally and that no rockets had been fired from Gaza at Israel.

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