Israeli forcesÂ discovered a tunnel, inside the ’48 territories, coming out of the southern Gaza Strip, just over a week ago, the armyÂ revealed on Monday morning.
The tunnel has since been â€śneutralized,â€ť a military spokesperson said, but would not elaborate on whether it was destroyed or merely sealed off.
According to Israeli media, Â the exact location of the tunnel is still under wraps by the Israeli censor, though it does not appear that the tunnel led directly into any of the Israeli settlements near the fence alongÂ the Gaza Strip.
The tunnel is 30 meters deep, PNN further reports, and it was likely dug after the 2014 Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, according to armyÂ assessments, though this has not been fully verified.
â€śThe discovery of this tunnel in recent days is the result of ongoing work,â€ť Israeli head of the Southern Command Major Genneral Eyal Zamir said in a statement.
â€śThe IDF will continue to use all of the tools at our disposal above and below ground to thwart any attempt to harm the people of the State of Israel or IDF soldiers.â€ť
Though the tunnel had been found just over one week ago, news of its discovery was forbidden from publication by the military censor.
The armyÂ stated that Hamas is responsible for the tunnelâ€™s Â construction and maintains that it was dug â€śin order to carry out attacks against Israelis,â€ť a military spokesperson said, though he would not discuss what specific intelligence led to that finding.
Following the Israeli operation, Hamas vowed to continue using tunnels and rockets to defend the Gaza Strip.
Speaking at a rally in the Gaza Strip, last week, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told residents: â€śOur message to the prisoners is a message inked in blood. The rifle and the tunnel are our commitment.â€ť
This tunnel is itÂ the first to be discovered inside 48 territories â€“ Israel â€“ since the end of the Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014.
During that attack, the so called â€śOperation Protective Edge,â€ť Â at least 34 tunnels were discovered and destroyed by Israeli forces.
Archive IMEMC video: 09/02/14Â Gaza Cityâ€™s Devastated Al-Shujaâ€™eyya Suburb
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.