The Israel air strike Saturday night, Jan. 13, in the southern Gaza Strip was aimed at a terror tunnel running 180m into Israel that Hamas was building under the Kerem Shalom crossing through which convoys of goods pass from Israel to the Gaza Strip. It also ran into Egyptian territory under the Rafah border between Gaza and Sinai. This was disclosed early Sunday by the IDF spokesman. He noted that Israeli fighters hit the tunnel at the Gaza end. Work to finish its demolition continued Sunday. The new tunnel ran under the gas and heavy oil pipelines through which Israel supplies the Gaza Strip population with fuel.
This was the third Palestinian terror tunnel Israel had discovered and destroyed in the Gaza Strip in recent months. Hamas and the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad were responsible for the first two.
DEBKAfile adds: Clearly the IDF has been able to develop the technology for detecting and destroying the terror tunnels, so robbing Palestinians of one of their prime weapons of terror against Israel. Hamas will also have understood that Israel gave Egypt prior warning of its air strike Saturday night. This prompted the night curfew Cairo imposed on northern Sinai including the Rafah region an hour earlier. The tunnel network is also Hamas’ main conduit for smuggling arms and combatants into and out of the Gaza Strip through Sinai. Now that the Gaza Strip is under total land blockade, the Palestinian terrorist group faces hard options: Accept Egyptian and Fatah terms for reconciliation, launch a massive rocket attack on Israel, or call on the help of its allies Iran and Hizballah for action to break the blockade and deliver funds and weapons that can overwhelm the IDF and its new anti-tunnel technology.