Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman:
“This was a strategic tunnel for Hamas”
Senior IDF officer:
“This is a completely different type of tunnel, cemented to a higher quality, very structurally sound. It appears [Hamas] invested a lot of thought in it.”
It was cleared for publication on Friday that the Israel Defense Forces had recently discovered an underground tunnel near the Israel-Gaza Strip border. According to the IDF, the tunnel was one of the largest ever found along the border with Gaza, if not the largest.
The tunnel was discovered last Tuesday following intelligence information and intensive operations by the IDF Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade, commanded by Col. Amos Hacohen.
The tunnel reaches hundreds of meters inside Israeli territory, and includes numerous sub-arteries. Its depth ranges from 8 to 20 meters (26 to 66 feet).
The IDF, citing fresh footprints, power generators, protective gear and tools to reinforce the walls with cement that were found in the tunnel, said that digging was likely conducted as recently as a few days prior to its detection.
A senior IDF officer told reporters that
“this is a tremendous blow to Hamas. It planned to use the tunnel to carry out a large, quality attack. This is a completely different type of tunnel, cemented to a higher quality, very structurally sound. It appears they invested a lot of thought in it.”
The IDF believes Hamas is responsible for building the tunnel, because it is the only entity in Gaza capable of building such a complex structure. According to the army, Hamas spent months building the tunnel. Since its detection, IDF units have been searching the tunnel and studying its layout. After the army concludes its inspection work, the tunnel will be destroyed.
GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman said: “We tracked this tunnel for a long period of time. This was a strategic tunnel for Hamas.”