TEL AVIV – The IDF on Monday uncovered another attack tunnel from the Gaza Strip into Israel during construction of an underground barrier, the military said in a statement.
“At this time, IDF soldiers are conducting an investigation of the passage. More information will be provided shortly,” the statement said.
It was unclear if it was a newly dug tunnel or an old one that had not yet been discovered.
It marks the 18th so-called terror tunnel to have been uncovered since the end of the 2014 summer conflict with the Gaza-ruling terror group Hamas.
The Eshkol Regional Council, in which the tunnel was found, said in a statement that “the tunnel was located because of the groundbreaking technological defenses that are being used along the Gaza border to protect our communities.”
“The tunnel is not a threat and is being handled by the IDF. We thank IDF soldiers and officers who are determined and courageous in defending our communities,” the statement read.
Since 2016 the IDF has destroyed 16 tunnels, including one that infiltrated both Israeli and Egyptian territory and ran under the Kerem Shalom border crossing, and another that extended into the Mediterranean Sea.
That year also saw the start of construction on a high-tech underground barrier to prevent infiltration by terrorists into Israel. So far, the IDF has completed 30 kilometers of the 65-kilometer (40 mile) barrier, which according to the military is due to be completed by the end of 2019.
In addition, a new above-ground barrier is being constructed from some 20,000 tons of galvanized steel. The smart-fence will also be outfitted with sensors to detect tunnels.
Naval fortifications have been undertaken in an effort to prevent infiltration from the sea, as was the case in 2014 when five Hamas frogmen entered Israel armed with explosive devices and automatic weapons.
The entire project, which is being carried out by the Defense Ministry, will cost in the region of NIS 3 billion ($877 million), with NIS 2.4 billion ($700 million) of that earmarked for the subterranean barrier.