The Israeli military said it exposed another “terror tunnel” from the Gaza Strip into Israel on Tuesday evening, in an announcement quickly followed by rocket fire from the Hamas-ruling coastal enclave.
“In the past few hours IDF forces have exposed an offensive terrorist tunnel that crossed into Israeli territory, but did not cross the barrier that is being established these days,” IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hadi Zilberman said.
He added that the tunnel, which emerged from the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, was discovered after receiving an alert from the newly installed underground barrier system.
It was the first successful neutralization of a tunnel based on intelligence gathered from the new system, he said.
According to Zilberman, the terror tunnel crossed the old fence and penetrated Israeli territory by a few dozen meters, but did not penetrate the new barrier.
Later in the evening, at least one rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system over the Israeli town of Sderot near the Gaza border. There were no reports of injuries.
The IDF responded by bombing a subterranean site linked the Hamas terror group.
In response to the rocket that was fired from Gaza into Israel earlier tonight, our aircraft struck underground Hamas infrastructure in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/UKMyQfQfKr
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) October 20, 2020
The Kan public broadcaster reported Tuesday evening voices were heard emanating from the tunnel the previous night.
“IDF fighter jets and attack helicopters attacked underground infrastructure of the Hamas terror group in the southern Gaza Strip,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. “The attack was in response to the firing of a rocket launched from the territory of the Gaza Strip to Israeli territory earlier this evening.”
Regarding the attack tunnel, Zilberman said: “The tunnel was still in the middle of being built, and at no point posed a danger to the surrounding towns,” adding that it would be neutralized in the coming days.
“The IDF estimates that it was part of a relatively new operational outline, but has not yet determined who was responsible for it,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.
It added that the new barrier system, which will be completed on March 2021, will consist of three sections: a wall that reaches dozens of meters underground, an additional above-ground wall and an intelligence gathering and advanced technology system for locating tunnels.
“Most of the work underground has been completed,” the statement said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to the uncovering of the attack tunnel: “We will continue to take determined action in all sectors for the security of Israel and against any attempt to attack our sovereignty or our citizens.”