The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) destroyed a Hamas tunnel on Monday that was still in the process of being built.
The tunnel spanned from Khan Younis in Gaza toward Kibbutz Kissufim in Israel. The IDF was able to detect it through an unspecified technological advancement and then destroyed the tunnel through a controlled explosion.
The explosion resulted in nine dead Palestinian terrorists, one of which was the senior commander of Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the tunnel’s demolition as how Israel is “developing breakthrough technology to deal with the tunnel threat.”
“Today, we located a tunnel and we destroyed it, and we will continue doing so,” Netanyahu declared. “We will continue to protect Israel’s borders.”
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stressed that the explosion took place on the Israeli border and that the Jewish state isn’t interested in another armed conflict with Gaza. However, Lieberman noted that “despite Palestinian unity, the Gaza Strip remains a terrorist kingdom.”
“There is no doubt Hamas, which controls Gaza, is responsible,” said Lieberman.
Hamas called the tunnel’s explosion a “Zionist crime” that “is a dangerous escalation against our people” to halt “efforts to restore Palestinian unity” in a statement.
“We affirm that resisting the occupation in all its forms and by possessing its various forms is a natural and guaranteed right of our people,” the statement read.
Iran, which funds Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, also denounced the tunnel’s destruction by referring to Israel as the “blood-sucking Zionist regime” that “wants to weaken the resolve of the oppressed Palestinian nation through the massacre of Palestinian youth.”
This is the third Hamas tunnel that has been destroyed by Israel since Hamas first started using the tunnels in the 2014 conflict. In 2016, Israel warned that Hamas digs over six miles of tunnel a month toward Israel and that they can travel through the entirety of the Gaza Strip underground through their network of tunnels. There have been some instances in which the tunnels have collapsed on Hamas members.