The IDF released for publication Monday morning the news that the army had several days earlier discovered a tunnel, apparently dug by Hamas, that crossed under the Gaza fence into Israel territory. The tunnel was discovered via a combination of intelligence information and technological means. According to the statement, the tunnel was a new one, having been dug since the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
The tunnel was demolished in a secure manner. Over the weekend, Gaza sources reported that there had been “significant activity” by Israeli forces on the Gaza border fence. The IDF placed a gag order on the matter. According to sources quoted on Israel Radio, this is the first time that discovery of tunnels has been attributed to anti-terror technology.
The tunnel extended about 100 meters (325 feet) from Gaza into Israel, the IDF said. The IDF did not reveal where the tunnel exited into Israeli territory, but said that it would have been possible for terrorists using the tunnel to be within an Israeli town or army base in southern Israel “within minutes.”
“We have neutralized the tunnel in Israeli territory, rendering it unusable for infiltration by Hamas terrorists,” Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, an IDF spokesman, said in a conference call with foreign journalists.
He said that the tunnel was lined with cement and outfitted with electricity, ventilation and rail tracks to cart away dirt from digging.
“We aren’t elaborating on the specifics of technology (that led to its discovery). But I would say it was a combination of technology, intelligence, engineering capabilities and boots on the ground,” said Lerner.