Terrorists on Thursday blew up a massive tunnel they had dug from southern Gaza toward Israel, the IDF said.
No one was injured, but a jeep that was in the area was blown sideways by the force of the explosion. The blast may have been set off by remote control.
Earlier on Thursday, Brig.- Gen. Micky Edelstein, the new commander of the Gaza Division, led soldiers into Gaza to investigate the area, following a string of bomb attacks in recent days, including one on Tuesday that wounded three soldiers.
The soldiers uncovered several bombs after crossing the border, some of them very powerful, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said.
“As soldiers worked to fix the fence in the area, the tunnel blew up under the [fence] route,” Mordechai said. “It was a very large explosion, leaving a four- to five-meter crater. We believe the blast is a result of the work carried out by the army west of the border, though this needs to be confirmed.”
The IDF does not yet know how the tunnel was intended to be used. “It was a very big tunnel, of the likes we haven’t seen in a long time,” Mordechai said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday night that he holds Hamas responsible for blowing up the tunnel, and that the IDF will consider how and when to respond.
On Tuesday morning, an explosion tore through the Gaza border, wounding three soldiers.
Last month, Palestinian terrorists detonated a bomb on the border, seriously wounding an IDF company commander, who lost his left hand. Both incidents occurred in the same area of southern Gaza where Thursday’s bombfilled tunnel was detonated, and where the bombs were found by the Israeli force inside the Strip.
There are frequent attacks on the border by a host of Gazan terrorist factions – Hamas, Islamic Jihad and smaller organizations. The attacks often take the form of mortar fire, bombs, rocket fire and machine-gun attacks, as well as attempts to enter Israel.
JPost.com staff contributed to this report.