GAZA - Palestinian security forces told the IDF Monday that they had discovered a tunnel leading from the city of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip to the Gush Katif settlement bloc.
The tunnel, 10 meters deep (about 30 feet) and 50 meters (about 150 feet) in length was apparently designed to be used by terrorists to infiltrate Israeli communities, as well as smuggle explosive materials to blow up IDF posts and civilian residential areas, the sources said.
Although most tunnels dug by the Palestinians have been used to smuggle weapons, some have been used to stage attacks against Israeli targets.
Officials estimate the tunnel may have also been used to smuggle terrorists into Israeli territory to carry out attacks during the disengagement planned for the summer.
Preparing for the day after
Palestinian sources, however, have not confirmed the story. PA officials said the only incident involving a tunnel was a clash between security forces and diggers in Rafah.
They said the tunnel diggers were Islamic Jihad members and that an exchange of fire broke out between security forces and the terrorists. IDF troops also fired at their direction, the Palestinians said.
The use of tunnels to smuggle weapons and terrorists has become one of the most severe threats to Israel and its ability to maintain the safety of its citizens.
The Palestinian Authority has uncovered several tunnels along the Philadelphi route,
since the start of the "calm" in the territories.
Israeli security forces have said over the past few weeks that the Palestinian organizations are actively improving their weaponry abilities, in preparation for "the day after" pullout.