GAZA CITY Ñ Israel's military has destroyed three Palestinian
tunnels employed for the smuggling of insurgents, weapons and explosives.
Israeli military sources said the tunnels were blown up by engineering
units during a search-and-destroy operation in the southern Gaza Strip near
the Egyptian border over the weekend. The sources said Egyptian authorities
were notified of
the operation and the destruction of the tunnels.
So far, 10 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli operation. Brig.
Gad Shamni, commander of Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, said the military
destroyed four homes. Palestinian Authority officials said 45 homes were
The Israeli operation has taken place in Rafah, the Gaza Strip town that
spreads into Egypt. Israel's military has confirmed the existence of at
least 13 Palestinian tunnels. The entrances to the tunnels were said to have
been concealed in homes in the refugee camp.
The sources said Palestinian insurgents loyal to Palestinian Authority
Chairman Yasser Arafat have used the tunnels to smuggle weapons, explosives
and suicide bombers from Egypt. They said the tunnels were believed being
prepared for the smuggling of Stinger shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles
and Sagger anti-tank missiles in the Gaza Strip.
A combined Israeli force of helicopters, tanks, armored personnel
carriers, infantry and engineering units has been deployed for the
operation, which began on Thursday. The sources said they expect the
operation to last several more days.
On Sunday, the Israeli operation in Rafah continued on what military
termed a smaller scale. Most of the force left the town on late Saturday.
Hours later, Palestinian gunners fired a Kassam-class short-range
missile toward the nearby southern Israel city of Sderot. The missile landed
on a road near the city and nobody was injured.