JERUSALEM – At least six Palestinians were killed and another ten injured, one critically, on Monday when the Israeli army blew up an attack tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into its territory, the Gaza Health Ministry said.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it “neutralized a terror tunnel” that was discovered inside Israeli territory near the Gaza Strip and is believed to have been dug after the 2014 war.
Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidre named three of the dead as Ahmad Khalil Abu Armana, 25, Omar Nasar al-Fallit, 27 and Musbah Shabir, 30.
The IDF said the tunnel ran from the Gazan city of Khan Younis, crossed under the border and approached the Israeli community of Kibbutz Kissufim, according to Times of Israel.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman hailed the IDF for destroying the attack tunnel, with the two leaders attributing its discovery to Israel’s new “breakthrough technology.”
In remarks at the weekly Likud faction meeting, the prime minister said the long-rumored advanced technology to locate the attack tunnels had been utilized in the recent operation.
“I told you many times before that we are developing breakthrough technology to deal with the tunnel threat,” said Netanyahu at the start of the meeting. “We are implementing it. Today, we located a tunnel and we destroyed it.”
Earlier, the military said the tunnel had been under surveillance for an extended period of time and was under active construction at the time of the demolition.
“The tunnel was detonated from within Israel, adjacent to the security fence,” the military said in a statement.
The demolition was carried out near the fence separating Israel from Gaza.
The destruction of the tunnel was first reported by Palestinian media on Monday afternoon. The reports said it was carried out by airstrike.
The IDF officers said it was not immediately clear who dug the tunnel, but that ultimately the Israeli army holds Hamas “accountable and responsible” as it is the governing figure in the Strip.
Hamas did not immediately comment on the demolition.