The IDF announced Sunday that over the weekend it had destroyed yet another Hamas terror tunnel that had been dug inside Israeli territory. The tunnel was destroyed by Israeli bulldozers after its route had been identified. The tunnel was identified at “an early stage” of construction, officials said.
In a statement, the IDF said that “in recent weeks Hamas is striving to turn the Gaza border fence area into a staging area for conflict. The riots that Hamas has been sponsoring at the border fence are a mask for the group’s terror activities, both above and below ground. The IDF will not allow harm to the security or safety of Israelis. The IDF will continue to carry out its mission to defend Israelis.”
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, the IDF spokesman, said the new tunnel was connected to a network dug by Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip and entered Israel near the community of Nachal Oz. It’s the fifth such Hamas tunnel Israel has destroyed in as many months.
Conricus said the tunnel was adjacent to the site of recent mass protests, which Israel says Hamas is using as a cover for attacks.
He said Hamas began building the tunnel following the 2014 war. Israel has placed a high priority on halting the tunnel threat since Hamas infiltrated Israel during the war.
In a wide-ranging sweep over the weekend, security officials said they arrested 23 wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.