Israel said Sunday that it has uncovered and destroyed a “significant” cross-border attack tunnel from the Gaza Strip, which the military said was being dug by Islamic group, Hamas, to attack Israel.
The announcement followed a surge of Palestinian unrest in response to last week’s U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Reuters reports that a network of Gaza tunnels allowed Hamas gunmen to blindside Israel’s superior forces during the 2014 war and the Israelis, with U.S. help, have since stepped up work on counter-measures.
Israeli military spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters on Sunday that the tunnel destroyed on Sunday ran hundreds of meters into Israeli territory and, though unfinished, was a new project that showed “a significant effort by Hamas”
He said the tunnel reached within 1km of the nearest Israeli civilian community.
Also speaking on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said: “Yesterday we uncovered, again, a tunnel. Israel, amazingly, is developing the technology to find tunnels, and prevent the use of tunnels as a means of terror attacks. This is a combination of tremendous technological innovation, and in some cases, tremendous courage by our people”
According to Reuters, the previous such announcement was on October 30, when Israel blew up a tunnel dug by Islamic Jihad. In the process of that demolition, 10 gunmen from the group and another two from Hamas were killed – deaths that Israeli sources described as an unintended result of the passage’s collapse within Gazan turf.