Military officials said Thursday that the tunnels, which were unearthed near the village of Dahaniya in the southern Strip, were used by terror organizations to smuggle weapons from Egypt into Gaza.
The tunnels were found about 1.5 kilometers from the border fence. According to IDF sources, they were all active and had been used by terror groups to smuggle weapons until recently.
A senior officer said several months ago that the smuggling attempts in the southern Gaza Strip have become "import-like, both in terms of their extent and legitimization."
The uncovering of these tunnels illustrates the terror organization's methods to strengthen themselves and continue to equip themselves with weapons.
Large enough for humans (Photo: AFP)
Southern Command officials noted Thursday that the tunnels were used both to smuggle large amounts of explosives on a monthly basis, and to smuggle machine guns, antitank missile, rifles, grenades, and even antiaircraft missiles.
The tunnels uncovered are 1-kilometer long and are built in a way that would enable humans to enter them in order to smuggle the weapons. Some of the smuggling attempts were used by terror organizations to transfer large sums of money into the Gaza Strip.
The last operation aimed at uncovering smuggling tunnels took place on October 17, 2006. About 15 tunnels were unearthed in the Rafah area.
IDF officials explained that terrorists continue to leave the Strip for training, mainly in Iran, adding that it was possible that the tunnels were being used by these terrorist to leave Gaza and later return after receiving training.
The Israeli officials refrained from directly addressing the Egyptian activity beyond the border, but hinted that the Egyptians were capable of helping Israel to thwart the "tunnel industry."