Israel destroys Hamas tunnel under Gaza, says it was intended for attacks

Israel destroys Hamas tunnel under Gaza, says it was intended for attacks

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: "Destroying the network of offensive tunnels is an essential component in our policy of systematically damaging the strategic abilities of Hamas".

Gaza's interior ministry said an initial investigation indicated "the Palestinian fishing boat did not cross the Egyptian (maritime) border".

The reports of the attack were then confirmed by the Israeli army as well.

On the Israeli side, the exit of the tunnel was adjacent to the Kerem Shalom crossing, as well as to the crossing's communications center, and a natural gas installation.

According to the Israeli army, the tunnel passed under the Kerem Shalom border crossing, near the Egyptian border.

The strikes occurred within the Gaza Strip, while further means were used in Israeli territory.

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"The terrorist organization Hamas is responsible for everything happening in and out of the Gaza Strip", an IDF statement said.

It is also building an underground wall in the area around the Gaza Strip to stop such tunnels. It was completely destroyed by the strike.

Palestinian sources say that a tunnel was the target of the attack and none reported hurt in the attack according local sources in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the tunnel was a "major terrorist infrastructure belonging to Hamas in the Gaza Strip". 'Hamas must understand that we will not allow these attacks to continue and that we will respond with even greater force, ' he told reporters before boarding a flight to India. Unique about this tunnel, the IDF said, is that "it clearly was not a tunnel for smuggling merchandise, but specifically made for attacks".

Conricus said as the tunnel entered Egyptian territory; the army was in contact with Cairo about its destruction but would not elaborate on the extent of the cooperation. Earlier Motzoei Shabbos, the IDF closed the Kerem Shalom crossing, and it is to remain closed throughout Sunday.

The strike came shortly after the military announced it would not be opening the Kerem Shalom Crossing into the Gaza Strip on Sunday, following a "situational assessment".

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