The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) announced yesterday it destroyed a new Hamas tunnel under the Israeli-Gaza border.
The tunnel, nearly a kilometre long, began in the Khan Younis area of the central Gaza Strip and extended more than 200m under Israeli territory. It is the 15th tunnel that has been destroyed by Israel in the past year. IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said the tunnel was connected to a wider network of Hamas tunnels under Gaza and had “different construction methods to what we’ve seen. It has phone and power lines”. The IDF estimated that Hamas has spent $3m on cement and electrical equipment to build the tunnel.
The tunnel was discovered as part of ongoing efforts since 2014 to locate and destroy the Hamas tunnel system. In the past year Israel has deployed new equipment to detect underground tunnels and is building a new security barrier above and below ground along its border with Gaza to prevent new tunnels being built. Manelis said that Israel is aware of other tunnels that Hamas is trying to build in order to launch terrorist attacks in Israel.
Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed that Israel would continue to fight the threat of Hamas tunnels. “The terror tunnel we destroyed this morning is another tunnel which will not serve Hamas in the next campaign,” he said.
Senior Fatah official Ahmad Majdalani said yesterday that Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, was “no longer acceptable” to the Palestinian Authority (PA). He alleged Mladenov had “gone beyond his role” in seeking agreements between Israel and Hamas, adding that Mladenov’s efforts of working with Egypt to secure a truce agreement between Hamas and Israel had impacted “Palestinian national security and the unity of our people”.