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TunnelsIsrael demolishes Gaza tunnel, killing 9 Palestinian militants

Published 31 October 2017

The Israel military (IDF) on Monday morning destroyed a tunnel Hamas fighters were building under the Israel-Gaza Strip. The Hamas Health Ministry in Gaza said that nine Palestinians were killed and eight others were wounded when the IDF blew up the tunnel. Israel this summer began work on an underground barrier meant to counter attack tunnels.

The Israel military (IDF) on Monday morning destroyed a tunnel Hamas fighters were building under the Israel-Gaza Strip. The Hamas Health Ministry in Gaza said that nine Palestinians were killed and eight others were wounded when the IDF blew up the tunnel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman praised the IDF for destroying the tunnel, which led from the Gaza Strip to a kibbutz inside Israeli territory. Netanyahu and Liberman attributed the discovery of the tunnel to Israel’s new “breakthrough technology.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that Netanyahu, in remarks at the weekly meeting of the Likud faction in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), said the advanced technology to locate deeply dug attack tunnels had been used in the recent operation.

“I told you many times before that we are developing breakthrough technology to deal with the tunnel threat,” said Netanyahu. “We are implementing it. Today, we located a tunnel and we destroyed it.”

The prime minister, referring to Hamas, said: “whoever hurts us, we hurt them.”

Liberman said Israel would not tolerate incursions on its territory, highlighting the fact that the explosion which destroyed the tunnel “took place on our territory.”

Liberman, referring to ongoing negotiation between the rival Fatah and Hamas factions, said that the tunnel, extending from the Gazan city of Khan Younis, “proves that despite the Palestinian reconciliation, the Gaza Strip remains a kingdom of terror.”

“We have no interest in an escalation [in hostilities] and we have no intention of letting anyone hurt Israel’s sovereignty,” he added.

The IDF said that the tunnel had been under surveillance for an extended period of time and was under active construction at the time of its demolition.

The tunnel, which the IDF described as a “grave and unacceptable violation of Israeli sovereignty,” started in Khan Younis, crossing under the border and approaching Kibbutz Kissufim, the army said.

“The tunnel was detonated from within Israel, adjacent to the security fence,” the military said in a statement.

The demolition was carried out near the fence separating Israel from Gaza.

The tunnel was discovered by a new, advanced piece of technology that was being used for the first time, IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, told reporters. He would not specify the type of equipment used.

Israel has destroyed three Hamas tunnels since the war between Israel and Hamas in the summer of 2014. The first two tunnels, demolished last year, were believed to be leftovers from the 2014 conflict; the tunnel that was detonated on Monday was “in progress,” Conricus said.

Conricus would not comment on the dimensions of the tunnel, such as its depth and length.

The “IDF is working above- and below-ground to thwart attempts to harm Israeli civilians and protect the relative calm in the area,” the military spokesman said

Israel this summer began work on an underground barrier meant to counter attack tunnels.