Amid growing tension in the South, the IDF destroyed an advanced Hamas terror tunnel that had crossed from the Gaza Strip some 200 meters into Israel.
The tunnel was located through advanced technologies able to pinpoint its exact location – the 15th to be detected and destroyed by the military since October 2017. The tunnel’s destruction is part of an ongoing Israeli effort to destroy all underground terror infrastructures.
After the discovery, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Hamas needs to understand that it will not be “worth their while” to test Israel.
Netanyahu, taking part in a reception on the US Naval destroyer the USS Ross making a port call in Ashdod, said that Israel was systematically dismantling the tunneling capability of Hamas. “They must understand that it would not be worth their while to try us.”
The tunnel, which was connected to a network of other Hamas tunnels inside the coastal enclave, incorporated various new methods of construction the military said it believes Hamas used to get around the IDF’s tunnel detection system.
“It had different construction methods to what we’ve seen,” IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said, adding that the military could not divulge exactly what type of material was used.
The tunnel, which infiltrated Israel from the Khan Yunis area, stretched over a kilometer inside Gaza and 200 meters into Israel and was fitted with electricity and a phone network, showing the advanced level of construction by the terrorist group.
It is believed that the tunnel was built to allow Hamas to carry out an attack in Israeli territory, but had been under surveillance until it was neutralized on Thursday. The destruction was completed by an engineering operation inside Israeli territory, led by the Southern Command, the Intelligence Branch and the Defense Ministry.
“Hamas continues to invest considerable resources in building infrastructures aimed at harming Israeli citizens. This economic investment, which comes at the expense of the welfare of the residents of the Gaza Strip, proves the exploitation of the population for terrorist purposes,” the IDF said in a statement.
“The IDF is determined to continue to defend Israel’s sovereignty and the security of its citizens and will continue to act decisively against terrorism,” it added.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also commented on the tunnel’s neutralization, tweeting on Thursday that Israel “never stops working for a minute, over and under the ground. The terror tunnel we destroyed this morning is another tunnel that will not serve Hamas in the next campaign.”
Earlier on Thursday, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system fired interceptors over what the IDF said was a false alarm.
The Code Red rocket alert siren blared throughout communities in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, Sdot Negev Regional Council, and in the city of Netivot at 10:07 a.m.
The border area with the Gaza Strip has been tense in recent months, and the sirens were activated just hours after the military closed several roads near the Gaza Strip border due to IDF activity in the area.
Gazans have been taking part in violent demonstrations along the border fence every evening in the past few weeks, throwing explosive devices, grenades and stones at IDF troops, as well as burning tires.
Nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed and thousands others wounded since the outbreak of the Gaza border protests
, which began as weekly riots on March 30 and which call for an end of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians have also been launching incendiary aerial devices into southern Israel from the coastal enclave, burning more than 2,800 hectares of agricultural fields, forests and nature reserves.
Nevertheless, according to Manelis, the military has noticed a drop in clashes along the fence and incendiary aerial devices in recent days.
“There are indications of an intent to simmer down the violence a little. In the last week Hamas has seen different attempts to improve the humanitarian condition in the Strip and it is responding to that. The significant test will be tomorrow,” he said, referring to the riots that occur on Fridays.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>