By Middle East Affairs
Israeli forces blocked a tunnel Sunday in the Gaza Strip that Hamas was attempting to rebuild for cross-border attacks, Reuters reports.
The tunnel was originally cut off during the 2014 Gaza war and the militant group Hamas was trying to bring it back into operation, a military spokesman told reporters. The tunnel was inside the Hamas-ruled enclave and just several hundred meters away from Israel’s border fence, according to Reuters.
Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters that Israeli forces actually used a new technique to hinder the tunnel that didn’t require them to cross the border.
“We did not use explosives. It (the tunnel) was filled with a certain material, with a certain compound,” he said.
A spokesman for Hamas, on the other hand, claimed the Israeli military was “marketing fake achievements” to boost the morale of its soldiers, as Reuters reported.
Gaza is largely closed off from its neighbors as both Israel and Egypt maintain tight control on their borders with the Palestinian region.
Hamas fighters used tunnels in the 2014 war to “blindside Israel’s superior forces,” according to Reuters. The news agency also said: “Since then, Israel has been working on advanced counter-measures including a sensor-equipped underground wall along the 60-km (36-mile) Gaza border, a $1.1 billion project it aims to complete by mid-2019.”
“On the basis of quality intelligence and groundbreaking technology, Israel is destroying Hamas tunnels one-by-one,” Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement.