Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Israel says it destroyed Gaza attack tunnel under Israel, Egypt borders

Israel says it destroyed Gaza attack tunnel under Israel, Egypt borders

In a statement, the Israel occupation Forces said that it views Hamas as responsible for what happens in Gaza. Officials said they believed the tunnel may have been meant to enable a Hamas takeover of the crossing.

During the last Gaza war, in 2014, Hamas fighters used dozens of tunnels to blindside Israel's superior forces and threaten civilian communities near the frontier.

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

Israel has now confirmed that it attacked and destroyed the Gaza Channel that stretches into Egypt.

Violent riots raged in the Gaza Strip and across the West Bank as parts remain under military lock down following the shooting of a settler in the Nablus area last week, the Israel Defense Forces reported Friday.

"We call on the Egyptian authorities to open an urgent investigation into this incident", spokesperson Iyad al-Bozum said in a statement.

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Conricus said Sunday Israel was defending its sovereignty with the destruction of the tunnel and was not seeking an escalation. It was completely destroyed by the strike.

Official Palestinian media said that "infrastructure" was farmland in the southern Gaza Strip, prompting many to assume that it was, in fact, a tunnel beneath the field, though not necessarily one that crossed into Israeli territory. "Hamas needs to understand that we will not allow these offensives, and that we will respond with even greater might".

Israel has been constructing a sensor-equipped underground wall along the 60-km (36-mile) Gaza border, aiming to complete the $1.1 billion project by mid-2019. Unique about this tunnel, the IDF said, is that "it clearly was not a tunnel for smuggling merchandise, but specifically made for attacks".

In early January Israel struck what is referred to as "central terror infrastructure" in the southern Gaza Strip following three mortar shells which were fired towards Israel. The Erez Crossing reopened a day later, and Kerem Shalom was reopened on December 17.

According to the IDF, rioters in four different locations along the Israel-Gaza border burnt tires and hurled rocks at Israeli security forces.

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