Hamas militants deny Israeli claims that it uncovered tunnel

IDF says tunnel discovery thwarted possible kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and citizens.

Tunnel leading from Gaza to Israel 370 (photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)
Tunnel leading from Gaza to Israel 370
(photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)
The Hamas military wing convened a news conference on Thursday evening denying reported Israeli claims that the IDF had uncovered a tunnel that was dug underneath the Israel-Gaza frontier, according to Palestinian media reports.
Operatives from Hamas's al-Qassam Brigades told reporters in Gaza late Thursday that "there was no military or intelligence achievement by the enemy."
“The Zionist enemy claimed this evening that it exposed a new tunnel built by the resistance [Hamas], and this is part of the hysteria that it suffers from,” said an al-Qassam Brigades spokesperson. “But this tunnel is not new. It is an old tunnel that Israel exposed two months ago and jihad fighters worked to rebuild it.”
The news conference was carried by Al-Aqsa television, a Hamas-operated satellite station.
The operatives claimed that the tunnel which Israel thought was new collapsed due to the rain which fell in the country last week.
“The enemy claimed that it foiled a large-scale operation, but these works [which were done recently] were part of our efforts to fortify ourselves in the face of enemy crimes,” one of the operatives said, referring to Israel. “We will continue to be a nightmare for the occupation (Israel). It would be best for the enemy not to rejoice in fake achievements.”
The IDF uncovered a massive Hamas attack tunnel in October leading from Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, into Israel, complete with an electrical supply and phone lines. It took Hamas over a year to complete and was tall enough to allow people to stand fully upright.
The tunnel was constructed using approximately 24,000 Israeli concrete slabs which the IDF had permitted into Gaza to ease the crisis in the civilian construction sector.
The IDF said  it uncovered three other tunnels leading from inside the Gaza Strip to Israel in 2013, the last of which was discovered in October.
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.