Cleared for publication: IDF
forces uncovered a tunnel laden with explosives in the Gaza vicinity
area on Thursday. It is estimated it was meant to serve terrorists in a high-profile attack on an Israeli kindergarten.
The tunnel, 2.5 kilometers long, connects the Absan village situated between Khan Younis
and the Gaza border fence, and Israel's Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha. Over the weekend, troops held extensive checks along the tunnel to dismantle the explosives and locate the many holes that had been dug in it.
According to the IDF, the tunnel has several exit points. IDF sources said the tunnel was dug in recent years for "strategic" purposes and was aimed at serving Hamas
in the next round of violence against the IDF.
"The tunnel was exposed in time and a disaster has been averted," said Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yalin. "The cooperation between farmers plowing the fields near the border and the IDF has proven itself."
|Troops patrol area where tunnel was uncovered (Video: Efraim Barel)|
Following the exposure, council heads in the Gaza vicinity area called on the government to withdraw a plan to stop providing military security to the area's communities. "These are bizarre decisions that are out of touch with reality," said Shaar Hanegev Council head Alon Shuster.
Major-General Eitan Dangot, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, has ordered to halt the transfer of construction materials to Gaza pending a new situation assessment.
The majority of terror tunnels connecting Gaza and Israel
have yet to be exposed. In 2006, seven Gaza terrorists used a tunnel to infiltrate Israel and abduct Gilad Shalit
Recent weeks have seen several attempts by Palestinians to approach the border fence. Some two weeks ago, an IDF force fired at two Palestinians who approached the fence in the northern Gaza Strip.
One was killed and the other was apprehended at the end of a chase. A check revealed that the two damaged the fence in order to cross over into Israel.
A similar incidence occurred several days earlier when two Palestinians approached the border fence near Jabalya, damaged the fence and hurled stones at an IDF force. The troops fired at the two who suffered moderate wounds.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop