First Published: 2018-04-15

Israel says Gaza cross-border tunnel destroyed
Tunnel, fifth destroyed in recent months, crossed into Israeli territory by several metres but did not yet have an exit point.
Middle East Online

Israsel destroyed tunnel by filling it with material to make it inoperative

JERUSALEM - Israel's army said Sunday it had destroyed a Hamas tunnel crossing from the Gaza Strip into its territory after more than two weeks of tension along the border of the Palestinian enclave.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said it was the longest and deepest Gazan tunnel discovered by Israel.

The tunnel crossed into Israeli territory by several metres (yards) but did not yet have an exit point, military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told journalists.

Israel destroyed the tunnel -- which it said connected to several others within Gaza and could have been used for attacks -- by filling it with material to make it inoperative.

"We filled the tunnel with material that renders it useless for a very long period of time," Conricus said. Explosives were not used.

"According to our early assessments, this tunnel reaches kilometres, several kilometres, into the Gaza Strip."

The tunnel came from the area of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip and was being dug in the direction of the Nahal Oz community in Israel, he said.

It was the fifth Gazan tunnel destroyed by Israel in recent months, Conricus said. Israel destroyed it over the course of the weekend.

The operation comes after protests along the Gaza border since March 30 that have led to clashes in which Israeli forces have killed 34 Palestinians and wounded hundreds of others.

Israel alleges Hamas is seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence and said the tunnel destroyed could have been used for that purpose, saying it comes from near an area where demonstrators have gathered.

Israel has faced criticism over its use of live fire along the Gaza border since March 30, while the European Union and UN chief Antonio Guterres have called for an independent investigation.

The military says its soldiers act to stop attacks, damage to the fence and infiltration bids, and says there have been attempts at all three.

Conricus said Israel had been monitoring the construction of the tunnel for some time.

He said Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, began building it after the 2014 war between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, including Hamas.

Israel has fought three wars with the Islamist movement Hamas since 2008, and the group has used tunnels to carry out attacks in the past.

Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade for more than a decade, while its border with Egypt has also remained largely closed in recent years.

Israel has also been building an underground wall around the Gaza Strip to stop tunnel infiltrations.

 

France, US clash with Iran over changing nuclear accord

Saudi Arabia claims killing of Yemen rebel leader

EU to Russia, Iran: Bring Syria to peace talks

Iraq's Shiites split ahead of crucial vote

Iraq’s ex-football stars from sports to politics

Turkey opposition journalists demand acquittal in terror trial

UN says Syria blocking humanitarian aid to Douma

OPCW experts visit second site of alleged Douma gas attack

Israeli policeman gets 9 months jail for killing Palestinian

US court rules for Arab Bank in precedent-setting case

Lebanese candidates pay hefty price for media coverage

Madani’s resignation sheds light on Iranian power play

Kuwait expels Filipino ambassador over treatment of workers

Syria aid donations for 2018 fall short of amount hoped

Growing anti-war sentiment in the US Congress could spell trouble for Trump

Liverpool’s Salah wins Israeli defence minister’s plaudits

Body of assassinated Palestinian driven through Malaysian capital

'Gap in perceptions' threatens wider Middle East war

UNESCO picks Morocco for project on prevention of violent extremism

Syrian regime retakes region near Damascus from rebels

Mogherini: Iran deal 'needs to be preserved'

Syria rebels prepare as Assad sets sights on next target

Iran's Rouhani questions 'right' to seek new nuclear deal

Trump, Macron call for 'new' nuclear deal with Iran

Syria's Idlib 'big new challenge' for international community

UNRWA chief says Palestinian aid $200 million short since Trump cuts

Bad memories resurface at Raqa’s mass grave

Turkey newspaper chief slams journalist terror trial

Setback for Yemen rebels after strike takes out leader

Saudi issues Islamic sukuk sale to finance deficit

Yarmuk, an epicentre of Syria's bloody conflict

Egypt’s Eurobond succeeds but risks remain

Egypt former anti-corruption chief gets five years jail

Philippines apologises to Kuwait over 'maid rescues'

Iran urges EU not to pay Trump ‘ransom’ over nuclear deal

UAE to finance project to rebuild Mosul's Grand al-Nuri Mosque

EU, UN begin major conference for Syria aid

New tensions rise between old rivals Turkey and Greece

Rouhani warns Trump against betraying nuclear deal

10 killed in Toronto “deliberate” van attack

Nine people killed in Toronto van attack

Yemen Huthi political leader killed in coalition raid

Syria security chief refuses Lebanon court appearance

Air raid kills dozens at Yemen wedding

Algeria draws Europe’s ire by cutting imports, boosting trade with China