The Israeli military revealed Oct. 13 the discovery of a tunnel below the heavily defended border with Gaza Strip. (IDF)
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — The Israeli military revealed Oct. 13 its discovery of an extraordinarily sophisticated, nearly two kilometer-long, concrete reinforced tunnel burrowed 15 meters below and extending 300 meters beyond Israel’s heavily defended border with Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
More than a year in the making and equipped with electricity and telephone cables, the tunnel was assailed by officials here as an audacious violation of Israeli sovereignty intended for strategic terror attacks.
“The tunnel was built for purposes of terror acts against our civilians and soldiers,” Maj. Gen. Sami Turgemann, commander of Israel’s Southern Command, told reporters here.
“We view this as an extremely grave event and a brazen violation of the understandings from Pillar of Defense,” Turgemann said of the Egyptian-brokered agreement that ended Israel’s eight-day, anti-rocket offensive in Gaza in November 2012.
Brig. Gen. Mickey Edelstein, commander of the Israeli military’s Gaza Division, said the tunnel was the most sophisticated of three subterranean assault routes discovered by the military since the beginning of the year. He said Israel will hold Hamas accountable for all terror activity emanating from Gaza, regardless of which organization is found to be involved in this or other events.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon praised the military for exposing the threat and warned of an Israeli response to Gaza-based provocations.
“The discovery of this terror tunnel is additional proof that the Hamas terror organization, despite the persisting calm, continues to prepare itself for conflict with the State of Israel,” Ya’alon said.