A general view of the interior of a cross-border attack tunnel dug from Gaza to Israel, near Kissufim, seen on January 18, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JACK GUEZ)
The Israel Air Force struck an underground network of terror tunnels in the Gaza Strip overnight on Sunday, the IDF Spokesperson's Office announced Monday morning.
The strike came in response to sirens heard in Sderot and other communities near the border of the Gaza Strip and a projectile that was launched into Israeli territory from Gaza Sunday night. According to reports, one mortar landed in an open area near Sderot.
"The IDF will continue to act to ensure security for the citizens of Israel by all means at its disposal. Hamas is responsible for everything happening in and out of the Gaza Strip, above and below ground," the IDF Spokesperson's Office responded in a statement.
This incident follows a period of rising tensions on Israel's southern border.
"Spontaneous" protests which were held in recent weeks along the Israel-Gaza border have been getting more violent in recent days, with protesters bringing firearms and grenades to use against IDF troops on the other side of the fence.
On Saturday afternoon, four solders were wounded
when a bomb was detonated against their military jeep, after they arrived to investigate a suspicious flag that was spotted on the Palestinian side of the fence near Khan Yunis in the southern part of the Strip. Two out of the four soldiers who were in serious condition were evacuated by helicopter to Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba.
On Saturday evening, a home in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council was directly hit by a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip.
Media reports in Gaza said that an observation post belonging to the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, Saraya al-Quds, was struck by an IDF tank shell in response.
Soon after that, Palestinian media reported several air strikes in the Gaza Strip against Hamas positions. The IDF carried out large-scale strikes against six terrorist targets
belonging to Hamas, including an attack tunnel in the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza City that was dug toward Israeli territory on Saturday night.
The air force also attacked a Hamas military compound in the Netzarim area that included a weapons manufacturing site and another Hamas military compound in Khan Yunis.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman responded to the situation on Sunday and vowed to eliminate
the people responsible for the explosive device that injured four IDF soldiers.
“Until we eliminate them, the score remains unsettled,” Liberman told Israeli news site YNet on Sunday morning. “It will take two days, a week or two weeks. We’ll eliminate anyone behind the attack’s execution.”
While the security establishment does not believe that Hamas currently seeks another confrontation, the situation is fragile, especially given the worsening humanitarian conditions in the Strip.Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.