A 1.5-mile tunnel running from the Gaza Strip to the
Israeli border kibbutz Ein Hashlosha was uncovered last week, Israeli officials
Subsequently, the Israel Defense Forces on
Tuesday blew up a different tunnel, situated under Israel’s border with the
central part of Gaza. The second tunnel was a previously undiscovered segment
of a tunnel uncovered before the IDF’s Operation Pillar of Defense in November
2012. It contained barrels of explosives intended for use by Gaza-based
terrorists against IDF troops patrolling the border.
IDF units uncovered the massive tunnel that stretched from
Gaza to Ein Hashlosha on Oct. 10, and according to defense officials quoted on Army Radio, that tunnel was meant for
the abduction of Israeli soldiers or for a large terror attack.
Equipment for the abduction and transfer of people was found
inside the tunnel, including a transportation mechanism that could quickly
ferry away a hostage.
During a speech last week at Bar-Ilan University, IDF
Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said that the next war Israel might face
could start with a terror tunnel attack at an Israeli border town or at a local
tunnel is able to hold several hostages and spirit them away quickly into the
Gaza Strip, Army Radio reported.It is 15 meters (about 50 feet) deep, and has several
exits. Its final exit was discovered in farmland near Ein Hashlosha.
The residents of Ein Hashlosha heard digging and alerted
the IDF, which then uncovered the tunnel. Eshkol region local council head Haim
Yalin said the tunnel entered 400 meters (a quarter mile) into Israel and “looks
like the New York subway and was apparently meant for abducting troops.”
The starting point of the tunnel is located in the
village of Abasan Al-Sair, located between the town of Khan Yunis and the
border fence with Israel. Over the weekend, special forces of Israel’s Yahalom
Combat Engineering unit conducted extensive engineering tests at the tunnel to
examine whether it contained explosives.
Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon said Sunday that
the discovery of the “terror tunnel” on the Gaza border “serves as additional
proof that the Hamas terror organization is continually preparing for a
confrontation with the state of Israel and to carry out terror attacks, if it
feels they are made possible, despite the cease-fire that it has been coerced
into by IDF deterrence.”
“The IDF’s discovery of the tunnel warrants commendation
because it prevented attacks against Israeli civilians who live near the border
and against Israeli soldiers in the area,” Ya’alon said.
“The IDF and Israel’s security forces must continue to
take action to expose future attempts by Hamas and other terror organizations
to harm Israel’s citizens and soldiers. It is the duty of all the relevant
bodies to be extremely vigilant, because our basic assumption is that terror
groups in Gaza are constantly digging tunnels to use in terror attacks at the
earliest opportunity,” he added.
Ya’alon also issued a directive to stop the entry of
construction materials into Gaza.
“We will continue to act with determination,
responsibility and thoughtfulness to defend Israel and its citizens, and we
will respond aggressively against anyone who tries to hurt them,” he said.