Following ten days of Hamas attacks against Israel by land, air,
and sea – and after repeated rejections of offers to deescalate the
situation – the Israel Defense Forces has started a new phase of
Operation Protective Edge. A large IDF force of infantry, tanks,
artillery, combat engineers, and field intelligence is entering the Gaza
Strip. The force is supported by the Israel Air Force, Navy, and other
Israeli security agencies. Their mission is to target Hamas’ tunnels
that cross under the Israel-Gaza border and enable terrorists to
infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks.
Such a goal requires intensive and precise operations inside Gaza.
Hamas terrorists are operating underground, and that is where the IDF
will meet them. The IDF intends to impair Hamas’ capability to attack
Hamas fires rockets at Israelis around the clock – 1,500 since July 8. The IDF is operating in order to counter this threat.
The Tunnel Threat
Earlier today, the IDF identified around 13 Palestinians who had
infiltrated Israel through a tunnel dug from Gaza. The tunnel began in
the southern Gaza Strip and its exit was near Kibbutz Sufa in Israel.
The terrorists were heavily armed
with RPGs and assault rifles and were prepared to carry out a massacre. The IDF foiled their attack
, saving countless Israeli lives.
The tunnel uncovered this morning was one of many such tunnels that
the IDF has discovered in recent years. In 2013, for example, the IDF uncovered a tunnel
from Gaza to Israel that was 18 meters (59 feet) underground and
extended for 1.7 km (1 mi). The tunnel was built with 500 tons of
concrete and cement.
Hamas used a similar tunnel in 2006 in order to infiltrate Israel,
kill two IDF soldiers, and kidnap Gilad Shalit. Hamas has repeatedly
said that it wants to kidnap more Israelis in similar attacks.
Hamas has invested millions of dollars and other resources in order
to operate its thriving tunnel network. There is evidence that
construction materials that Israel transferred to Gaza for civilian
projects has been used by Hamas for its tunnels.
An Intolerable Reality
Hamas has sworn itself to endless war against Israel. Its suicide
bombers have targeted buses, schools, restaurants, malls, and more. Its
rocket launching squads have fired more than thousands of rockets in the
past decade, making life intolerable not only for Israeli communities
near the Gaza border, but also in major cities including Jerusalem, Tel
Aviv, Beersheba, Ashdod, and Ashkelon.
The Israel Defense Forces will operate wherever necessary in order to protect the people of Israel.
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