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Hamas ‘terror tunnel’ reached 300 meters into Israel

Special to WorldTribune.com

TEL AVIV — Hamas has been building advanced tunnels in Israel.

The Israeli military has discovered what officials termed the most advanced tunnel constructed by Hamas. The military said Hamas started the 1.7 kilometer tunnel from the Gaza Strip that penetrated 300 meters into Israel.

Underground passageway - built with Israeli concrete slabs - took over a year to build, according to Israeli Army sources.  /Yaakov Lappin photo

The Hamas tunnel – built with Israeli concrete slabs – took over a year to build, according to Israeli Army sources. /Yaakov Lappin photo

“The tunnel was built for purposes of terror acts against our civilians and soldiers,” Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman, head of the military’s Southern Command, said.

The tunnel, announced on Oct. 13, appeared to embarrass the military’s General Staff, which determined that Hamas was observing the ceasefire with Israel in wake of the mini-war in November 2012. About week earlier, Turgeman asserted that Israel’s interest was to preserve the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip.

“We view this as an extremely grave event and a brazen violation of the understandings from Pillar of Defense,” Turgeman said. “Hamas invests tens of millions of dollars in digging tunnels instead of investing them in the community, in building houses and schools, businesses and industry.”

The Hamas tunnel, deemed the most advanced ever found by Israel, was
said to have begun in 2011. The military held a tour of journalists that
showed a tunnel 22 meters underground equipped with power and telephone
links.

“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,” Defense Minister Moshe
Ya’alon said.

Officials acknowledged that the tunnel, begun in the Gaza village
of Absan Al Zarir east of Khan Yunis, was built with components imported
from Israel, which in October 2013 sent 70 tons of construction material to
the Gaza Strip. They said Hamas planned to extend the tunnel deep into
Israel.

The military said special units discovered the tunnel. Military sources
said the army’s Gaza Brigade employed sonar equipment, ground and air
patrols to detect the Hamas project. The tunnel was blown up on Oct. 15 in
what the military termed a “controlled explosion.”

“This is the first time we pinpointed the location of a tunnel and
exposed it,” a senior official said.

Officials said Hamas and its Palestinian militia allies were
constructing additional tunnels to infiltrate Israel. They said the
tunnels were meant to be operated in any future war with Israel.

“They’re digging many tunnels, and it’s a large industry which includes
house and land renters, planners, diggers and engineers,” Turgeman said.
“It’s a true terror industry, and all parties, from the laborers to the
planners, will pay the price.”

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