Israel destroys tunnel from Gaza it says intended for attacks

Israel destroys tunnel from Gaza it says intended for attacks

The tunnel was reported to be 1.5 km long (about one mile), and going down 80 meters (260 feet), underneath the Kerem Shalom border that crossed into Israel and then flowed into Egypt. Conricus also said that the tunnel could have also been utilized for the objective of transferring terrorists from Gaza to Egypt, from where the targets could have been killed.

Gaza fishermen say that the limited fishing zone imposed by Israel is not big enough to meet demand of the coastal strip's 2 million people.

Israel "targeted a terror infrastructure using fighter jets in the southern Rafah region, adjacent to the Egypt-Gaza Strip border", an army statement said.

The tunnel destroyed early Saturday morning is believed to have been a Hamas tunnel which stretched for nearly a kilometer running under the Kerem Shalom crossing near the gas pipeline and continued into Egyptian territory.

On the Israeli side, the exit of the tunnel was adjacent to the Kerem Shalom crossing, as well as to the crossing's communications center, and a natural gas installation. This is the third terror tunnel demolished by the IDF in the last two weeks.

Conricus said Israel had coordinated with Egypt on the operation.

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He said the tunnel's route stretched underneath the Kerem Shalom crossing, where 15 million tons of food, clothing, construction material and other essential goods had been transferred into Gaza since the 2014 war.

The Israeli army did not elaborate on reasons and the exact target of the airstrike. It will "continue its efforts above and below ground to thwart any attempts to harm Israeli civilians".

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman commented on the strike: "We performed a professional and precise [military] action. Our message to the Gazan leadership and residents of the strip is clear: invest in the sanctity of life and not in death tunnels".

The tunnel was identified by an integrated technological intelligence and operational capability, and has since been studied until it was made a decision to neutralize it Sunday morning.

In early January Israel struck what is referred to as "central terror infrastructure" in the southern Gaza Strip following three mortar shells which were fired towards Israel.

In its statement, the army added, "The Hamas terror organization is accountable for all activity in and from the Gaza strip".

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