Saturday, 21 April, 2018

Israeli Air Force Fires Missiles Into A Border Tunnel In Southern Gaza

Hamas has spent millions of dollars on digging tunnels that could be used to launch surprise attacks Hamas has spent millions of dollars on digging tunnels that could be used to launch surprise attacksMUSTAFA HASSONA ANADOLU AGENCY GETTY IMAGES
Kenny Thornton | 14 January, 2018, 12:12

The planes that hit targets along Israel's border with Gaza overnight on Saturday destroyed an attack tunnel, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

According to the military, the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing was a necessary security measure for those in the crossing area and while the consequences of the closure would be felt in the Strip, "the Hamas terror organization repeatedly chooses to harm the welfare of Gaza residents".

Conricus said the crossing itself was a potential target, as well as the gas and fuel pipelines.

"This is a blatant violation of Israeli sovereignty, endangering the citizens of Israel and sabotaging the humanitarian efforts that Israel is making for the citizens of Gaza", read a statement by the IDF.

The tunnel that was destroyed crossed into Israel near the Kerem Shalom Crossing, he said.

"There are those who have said the IDF just targeted sand dunes - this is incorrect", he said, alluding to the reports.

Conricus, the military spokesman, noted that the tunnel's route stretched underneath the Kerem Shalom crossing, where 15 million tons of food, clothing, construction material and other essential goods had been transferred into Gaza since the 2014 war.

Official Palestinian media said that "infrastructure" was farmland in the southern Gaza Strip, prompting many to assume that it was, in fact, a tunnel beneath the field, though not necessarily one that crossed into Israeli territory.

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IDF forces are believed to have destroyed four terror tunnels since late October, targeting one in October, one in December, and two in January. "This is a key mission for us and our intention is to allow quiet and to deter Hamas so we can continue to build the obstacle".

Israel has been constructing a sensor-equipped underground wall along the 60-km Gaza border, aiming to complete the $1.1 billion project by mid-2019.

The IDF said it also extended into Egyptian territory.

On Saturday night the IDF announced it would be closing the Kerem Shalom crossing after an assessment of the current security situation, but did not provide further details.

Media asked if the tunnel could have functioned as both a smuggling and attack tunnel, the army spokesperson responded, "It could have, but we deal with the infrastructure".

It is the second time Kerem Shalom has been closed in under a month.

The rockets were launched by Salafi groups and the Islamic Jihad, but the military maintains that Hamas should be held responsible for any hostility from the besieged Palestinian enclave.

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