The IDF demolished a terror tunnel late Motzoei Shabbos, the army announced Sunday morning. The tunnel was destroyed by ground forces overnight, after an initial air attack demolished part of it inside Gaza. The army said that the tunnel, which ran for almost a mile, extended 650 feet into Israeli territory, and was used to bring weapons into Israel for use by terrorists.
The tunnel was positioned in southern Gaza, near the Kerem Shalom crossing where the borders of Israel, Gaza and Sinai meet. The IDF said in a statement that it was possible the tunnel would have been extended into the direction of Sinai, allowing Gaza terrorists to send men and material to Sinai.
On the Israeli side, the exit of the tunnel was adjacent to the Kerem Shalom crossing, as well as to the crossing’s communications center, and a natural gas installation. Earlier Motzoei Shabbos, the IDF closed the Kerem Shalom crossing, and it is to remain closed throughout Sunday. Officials said they believed the tunnel may have been intended to enable a Hamas takeover of the crossing. This is the third terror tunnel demolished by the IDF in the last two weeks. Unique about this tunnel, the IDF said, is that “it clearly was not a tunnel for smuggling merchandise, but specifically made for attacks.”
Commenting on the demolition of the tunnel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that “some people say that when the IDF attacks Gaza they are hitting sand dunes, but that is incorrect. We are responding to the attacks against Israel, in a very clear and well laid-out pattern of destroying the infrastructure arrayed against us. Hamas needs to understand that these attacks will continue.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also said that the demolition of terror tunnels “is a necessary part of the policy of damaging terror infrastructure and harming the strategic capabilities of Hamas. The message to the leadership and residents of Gaza is clear: You should be investing in life-sustaining activities, not tunnels that end up as graves.”