Israel confirms it destroyed Hamas tunnel under key Gaza crossing

Palestinian fishermen on a boat off the coast of the Gaza Strip

Palestinian fishermen on a boat off the coast of the Gaza Strip

The Israeli army says it on Sunday destroyed a Hamas tunnel which came from the Gaza Strip and crossed into Israel and Egypt.

An attack tunnel that was bombed by Israeli jets on January 13, 2018. There were no casualties. Israel shut down the crossing as a result until further notice. Underground passageways were a distinct advantage for Hamas in the 2014 armed conflict with Israel.

The IDF announced Sunday it had destroyed a cross-border Hamas attack tunnel in southern Gaza, the third such tunnel demolished by the army in recent months. Conricus said this did not mark "more of the same" since it involved the most advanced technological means Israel has deployed. "This is a key mission for us and our intention is to allow quiet and to deter Hamas so we can continue to build the obstacle".

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The IDF destroyed the tunnel on Saturday night, describing its running under the border crossing as both "cynical" and "absurd".

Hamas initially said a typical smuggling tunnel was destroyed, but had no immediate response to the Israeli announcement.

Commenting on the demolition of the tunnel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that "some people say that when the IDF attacks Gaza they are hitting sand dunes, but that is incorrect".

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According to the military, the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing was a necessary security measure for those in the crossing area and while the consequences of the closure would be felt in the Strip, "the Hamas terror organization repeatedly chooses to harm the welfare of Gaza residents".

"We are happy to be able to have those capabilities", Conricus said. "The message to Gaza's leadership is clear, invest in the sanctity of life and not in digging your own catacombs".

Gaza is run by Islamist group Hamas, which has fought three wars with Israel and is designated a terrorist group by Western countries and Israel.

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