World Israel says it has destroyed Hamas attack tunnel from Gaza

13:40  10 december  2017
13:40  10 december  2017 Source:   Reuters

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Since then the campaign has concentrated on destroying more than 30 cross-border tunnels that militants have constructed to carry out attacks on Israeli territory. Hamas has said it will only halt fire once it receives guarantees that a Gaza border blockade by Israel and Egypt — tightened after

Hamas forces have used tunnels in the past to enter Israel and carry out attacks , but discoveries of those stretching into Israeli territory since the end of the 2014 war have been rare. In April 2016, Israel ’s military said it had located and destroyed a tunnel extending from the Gaza Strip into Israel

a beach with a mountain in the background: FILE PHOTO: Israel military vehicles patrol the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border © REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo FILE PHOTO: Israel military vehicles patrol the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border

Israeli forces on Sunday destroyed a "significant" cross-border attack tunnel from the Gaza Strip, which the military said was being dug by the enclave's dominant Islamist group, Hamas.

The announcement, cleared by Israeli censors who had previously barred reports of detection work around the central Gaza frontier, followed a surge of Palestinian unrest in response to last week's U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

It also came as Palestinian factions tried to meet Sunday's deadline for an Egyptian-mediated handover of Gaza by Hamas to Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas after a decade's schism.

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The Israeli Defense Force says that Operation Protective Edge, its incursion into Gaza that began last week, is meant to prevent Hamas attacks on Israel . And those attacks , it appears, depend on tunnels .

Referring to the Israeli operation on October 30, he said that Israel “ destroyed a terror tunnel in Israeli sovereign territory”. Two Israeli civilians, said to be mentally unstable, are also believed to have entered Gaza and to be held by Hamas .

A network of Gaza tunnels allowed Hamas gunmen to blindside Israel's superior forces during the 2014 war and the Israelis, with U.S. help, have since stepped up work on counter-measures.

The tunnel destroyed on Sunday ran hundreds of meters into Israeli territory and, though unfinished, was a new project that showed "a significant effort by Hamas", military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters.

He did not elaborate on how Israel knew Hamas was responsible for the tunnel, which he said reached to within 1km (0.6 miles) of the nearest Israeli civilian community.

Hamas did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

a sunset in the background: FILE PHOTO: The sun sets over the Gaza Strip, as seen from the Israeli side © REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo FILE PHOTO: The sun sets over the Gaza Strip, as seen from the Israeli side

The previous such announcement was on Oct. 30, when Israel blew up a tunnel dug by Islamic Jihad. In the process of that demolition, 10 gunmen from the group and another two from Hamas were killed - deaths that Israeli sources described as an unintended result of the passage's collapse within Gazan turf.

Conricus said that "to the best of our knowledge" there were no such casualties on Sunday, though he added that the tunnels could be "death traps" for Gaza gunmen.

"The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) will continue to discover, expose and demolish these terror tunnels," he said.

(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and David Goodman)

Exclusive: U.S. asks Israel to restrain response to Jerusalem move - document .
<p>The United States is asking Israel to temper its response to the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as its capital because Washington expects a backlash and is weighing the potential threat to U.S. facilities and people, according to a State Department document seen by Reuters on Wednesday.</p>The United States is asking Israel to temper its response to the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as its capital because Washington expects a backlash and is weighing the potential threat to U.S. facilities and people, according to a State Department document seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

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