IDF Demolishes Another Hamas Terror Tunnel

Locals watch the funeral procession on Saturday

Locals watch the funeral procession on Saturday

The Israel Air Force on Saturday night destroyed a Hamas attack tunnel stretching from the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory and continuing into the Sinai Peninsula.

Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, described the target hit on Saturday as 1.5 km (one mile)-lone "terror tunnel" running the Kerem Shalom border crossing into Israel, and into Egypt.

The attack came shortly after the military announced it would not be opening the Kerem Shalom Crossing into the Gaza Strip on Sunday, following a "situational assessment".

Israel has said Hamas, as the dominant force in Gaza, bears overall responsibility for any attacks from the enclave.

Israel denied claims the tunnel was used for smuggling, asserting it was intended by Hamas to bring terrorists and weapons from Egypt into the Gaza Strip for a possible future combined attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing from the Egyptian side.

"It could also have served to transfer terrorists from the Gaza strip into Egypt in order to attack Israeli targets from Egypt".

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Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also said that the demolition of terror tunnels "is a necessary part of the policy of damaging terror infrastructure and harming the strategic capabilities of Hamas". Every day roughly 500 trucks, carrying goods from the West Bank and Israel, pass through it and into the coastal enclave, Israeli newspaper Haaretz said on its website.

The tunnel stretched a total length of around a kilometre and a half, he said.

The announcement stressed that the tunnel constituted 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. In the weeks thereafter, more than forty rockets were fired from Gaza towards southern Israel, some landing in populated areas, prompting dozens of retaliatory air strikes primarily targeting Hamas infrastructure.

He said he was not aware of any casualties from the destruction of the tunnel, which was still being built.

Kerem Shalom, the main passage point for goods entering Gaza, was shut down on Saturday before the Israeli attack.

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

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