IDF Criticized Over Terrorists Using Known Tunnel to Infiltrate Israel

By Yoni Weiss

A Palestinian terrorist, of the military wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, seen inside a military tunnel in Beit Hanun, in the Gaza Strip. (Attia Muhammed/Flash90)

Four terrorists attempted to enter Israel early Thursday morning from the southern Gaza Strip, emerging from a tunnel known to the IDF for a decade.

According to a report on Army Radio, the tunnel shaft through which the terrorists emerged 200 meters from the border has been known to Israel since Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Despite being aware of the tunnel for ten years, the IDF had not destroyed it since the war began. The tunnel, located within the “buffer zone” along the Gaza border, was left intact.

The report indicates that the IDF did not thoroughly investigate the tunnel’s route or destroy its branches that approached the fence, allowing the terrorist squad to use it for infiltration. Additionally, the terrorists accessed the border through an opening in the fence intended for IDF forces, which had remained open.

Security officials harshly criticized the Gaza Division, stating that the incident could have been prevented with proactive measures against the tunnel and by ensuring all fence openings were secured.

The infiltration attempt occurred near Rafah in Gaza, opposite the area between Kerem Shalom and Holit in southern Israel. Soldiers from the Bedouin surveillance battalion responded and engaged the terrorists, who opened fire. The cross-border battle continued for several minutes, resulting in the death of Warrant Officer Zeed Mazarib.

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