Tuesday, 23 July, 2019

Israeli army destroys incomplete tunnel from Gaza

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Patty Aguilar | 11 December, 2017, 00:37

The tunnel destroyed on Sunday ran hundreds of metres into Israeli territory and, though unfinished, was a new project that showed "a significant effort by Hamas", military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters.

Hamas has built a sophisticated network of terror tunnels in the Gaza Strip and running into Israel, used for storing weapons, smuggling and terrorist infiltrations into Israel.

Officials report this latest tunnel was dug in recent weeks and it was found in the area that does not have the new tunnel barrier in place yet. The system was first used to detect a tunnel that was destroyed on October 30, but other aspects of the system were used this time around, he said.

The tunnel was "a blatant breach of Israel's sovereignty, an unacceptable situation which prompted the IDF's actions", the military said, and its exposure was "an operational success based on advanced technology, a testimony to the IDF's upgraded abilities".

The operation combined airstrikes targeting Hamas infrastructure in the Gaza Strip by the IDF on Saturday and Friday, which were carried out after the Islamist movement had called for an "intifada" against Israel.

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It also came as Palestinian factions tried to meet Sunday's deadline for an Egyptian-mediated handover of Gaza by Hamas to Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas after a decade's schism.

The demolition of the tunnel, which began in Khan Younis and extended past the Israeli-Gaza border into farmland in southern Israel near the Gaza border, comes about six weeks after another tunnel was discovered and blown up, while members of the Islamic Jihad, which was digging the tunnel, were inside. Although not complete, he said the tunnel was "very substantial", equipped with electricity, communications equipment and a ventilation system. It was located about 1 kilometer from an Israeli community.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - now occupied by Israel - might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Dozens of protestors in Gaza set fire to USA flags and pictures of Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Our battle for Jerusalem is going on round the clock, above and under the ground", the statement said.

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