Netanyahu cautioned Hamas that Israel "will respond with even greater force" if rocket strikes continue. Israeli military spokesman Colonel Jonathan Conricus has stated that the tunnel was bombed because it was a terror tunnel that ran underneath strategic facilities.
The tunnel was reported to be 1.5 km long (about one mile), and going down 80 meters (260 feet), underneath the Kerem Shalom border that crossed into Israel and then flowed into Egypt. Conricus also said that the tunnel could have also been utilized for the goal of transferring terrorists from Gaza to Egypt, from where the targets could have been killed.
While Hamas claimed that the tunnel was used to pass goods into Gaza, the IDF said that it was meant to smuggle weapons and militants into the Palestinian enclave for terrorist attacks.
"It could also have served to transfer terrorists from the Gaza strip into Egypt in order to attack Israeli targets from Egypt".
The army said the decision to not open the crossing, which ordinarily sees hundreds of goods-bearing trucks pass through it each day, was made after extensive rioting took place along the security fence surrounding the coastal enclave on Friday.
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He said Israeli jets struck part of the tunnel and a new set of sophisticated "tools" destroyed the rest.
The announcement stressed that the tunnel constituted a blatant violation of Israeli sovereignty, endangering the citizens of Israel and sabotaging the humanitarian efforts that Israel is making for the citizens of Gaza.
Official Palestinian media said that "infrastructure" was farmland in the southern Gaza Strip, prompting many to assume that it was, in fact, a tunnel beneath the field, though not necessarily one that crossed into Israeli territory.
Israel has been constructing a sensor-equipped underground wall along the 36 mile Gaza border, aiming to complete the $1.1 billion project by mid-2019. Earlier Motzoei Shabbos, the IDF closed the Kerem Shalom crossing, and it is to remain closed throughout Sunday.
It is the second time Kerem Shalom has been closed in under a month. At the same time, 67 Israeli soldiers and four civilians were killed in Israel during the battles.