Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement Tuesday praising the IDF and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) for neutralizing the terror tunnels from Gaza, but reiterated that there is no guarantee of 100 percent success.
“This was a complicated action taken by heroic soldiers under difficult combat conditions,” Netanyahu said.
He said the tunnels' destruction harmed a strategic Hamas weapon in which they invested tremendously over the years. The tunnels would have allowed Hamas to kidnap and murder numerous civilians and IDF soldiers in simultaneous attacks from a number of different tunnels that penetrated into Israel.
“As I said at the beginning, there is no guarantee of 100% success, but we did everything to achieve the maximum,” the prime minister said.
Netanyahu sent his condolences to the bereaved families of the fallen soldiers, and said that in his conversations with each family, he stressed that their sons fell in the most just battle possible.
An IDF source said on Tuesday that Hamas's rocket and tunnel capabilities were severely hit in the operation, adding that Hamas did not expect this level of damage.
"Its command and control capabilities are damaged to the point where the military wing no longer knows the location and status of all of its cells. "I think that Hamas was surprised on a number of occasions," he said.
Earlier in the week, committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) said the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will ask the “tough questions” that arose during Operation Protective Edge, once it ends.
As to whether the investigation would focus on terror tunnels from Gaza and why the government did not try to preemptively destroy them, Elkin told Army Radio “that is just one component, and it may not even be the biggest one.”
Heavy criticism has been directed against the political and security establishments regarding the IDF being unprepared for the scope of the Hamas tunnel threat.
There was also a public outcry when seven Golani soldiers were killed on July 19 by an anti-tank missile while they were using an aging model of an armored personnel carrier (APC).
Yaakov Lappin and Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.