On October 7, IDF soldiers discovered the opening of a tunnel built by Gazan terrorists near Israeli civilian communities. The tunnel is approximately 18 meters underground and extends 1.7 kilometers. This is the third such tunnel found along the Gaza-Israel security fence in the past year. Such smuggling tunnels have been used by terrorists in the past to execute attacks against civilians and military personnel.
The tunnel was built with approximately 500 tons of cement and concrete. Hamas and other terror organizations in the strip invest millions of dollars and resources in order to operate a thriving network of tunnels leading into Egypt and Israel. Sufficient evidence suggests that terrorists rely on construction materials transferred By Israel into the Gaza strip as humanitarian aid, in order to build such tunnels.
“Terror Tunnels” were used by the Palestinians in the past to attack Israeli fortifications. Such tunnels were dug under military bases, and filled with explosives to devastate the Israeli protected strongholds in the Gaza strip. In the past these tunnels were relatively short and were designed to facilitate protected access for the terrorists. The new tunnel is much longer and had multiple exit points, enabling terrorists to launch a coordinated attacks by multiple teams. The tunnel could also been planned to assist terrorists in abducting Israeli soldiers or citizens. This method of operation used during the 2006 attack on the military base in Kerem Shalom, where Hamas terrorists killed two Israeli soldiers and abducted Corp. Gilad Shalit. Five years later he was exchanged in return for thousand Arab terrorists and prisoners held in Israel.
Underground attacks via tunnels were used in the attack against the Termit stronghold controlling the Rafah borderline with Egypt. Three soldiers were wounded in the attack that demolished the entire fortified structure. Another attack launched in October 2004 against the Orchan stronghold in the Southern Gaza strip, killed one soldier and wounding five. It was later realized the palestinians used 170 kg of explosives in this attack. In 2006 the IDF destroyed another tunnel dug by the Palestinians under the Karni terminal connecting Gaza and Israel. Karni terminal is Gazan the lifeline, where hundreds of truckloads of supplies are moving daily between Israel and Gaza. In the planned the Palestinian terrorists planned to activate several large explosive charges under the terminal’s administrative buildings. Another explosive tunnel which has been completed and ready for attack was uncovered and destroyed by the IDF and ISA in 2008. In 2012 another tunnel dug under the border was activated by the Palestinians during IDF sweeps on the Palestinian side of the border.
The recent tunnel uncovered on 7 October 2013, is believed to be part of an infrastructure set by the Palestinians, could have been used to infiltrate arms and explosives or smuggling drugs into Israel, (the border with Gaza is constantly monitored, with a sterile zone preventing locals to get near the border fence.)