IDF discovers second tunnel from Gaza Strip into Israeli territory

Tunnel almost 30 meters underground into Israeli territory discovered; IDF: The IDF will continue to search for terror tunnels using the various tools at our disposal; IAF hits four Hamas targets in Strip early Thursday morning

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The IDF discovered a second tunnel from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory just weeks after a tunnel was found and destroyed. The 28-meter tunnel was found close to the tunnel that was destroyed mid-April.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants opened fired on the IDF during the discovery of the tunnel, the IDF returning fire with no injuries reported. The IDF has closed the area around the tunnel for security precautions.

IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner confirmed the discovery stating on Thursday afternoon “About four hours ago the IDF exposed a second tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip. We understand the tunnel was approximately 28 to 29 meters deep in the southern Gaza Strip, stretching from Gazan territory into Israel… Our efforts to destroy the Hamas terror tunnel network, a grave violation of Israel’s sovereignty, will not cease or be deterred.”

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit releasing the statement: The discovery of the terror tunnel is the product of extensive, prolonged, and successful defense and thwarting efforts led by the IDF Southern Command and the Gaza Division, which have been ongoing since the end of Operation Protective Edge. IDF forces have deployed a fortified protective envelope around the [Israeli] communities along the Gaza border in order to ensure the safety of the residents. This is a terror tunnel that was dug by the terrorist organization Hamas with the aim of executing terrorist attacks inside Israel, targeting Israel’s citizens and soldiers and violating Israel’s sovereignty. The IDF will continue to search for terror tunnels using the various tools at our disposal.

The discovery comes after Hamas militants fired at IDF patrols on Tuesday and Wednesday, the IDF returning fire at the militants. Early on Thursday morning, the Israeli Air Force struck four Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip after at least five mortar rounds were fired into Israeli territory.

Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk claimed on Wednesday evening that the incident was an “Israeli attempt to set new facts on the ground, over 150 meters away from the border. This is what caused our men to enter this confrontation, to prevent their bulldozers from perpetuating this conduct.”

During Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, the IDF destroyed Hamas’s terror tunnel networks, destroying 34 tunnels. The tunnels were used for smuggling weapons and materials for creating rockets as well as for infiltration of terrorists into Israeli territory.