Israel says it destroys Hamas tunnel under key Gaza crossing

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The recent strike was the fourth time Israel has bombed and destroyed a cross-border tunnel since November 2017. The tunnel that was identified and blown up over the weekend near the Kerem Shalom crossing, near where Egypt, Israel and Gaza meet, is reportedly the fourth to be found by Israel since October.

Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said the mile-long tunnel ran underneath the Kerem Shalom border crossing, Gaza's main point of entry for humanitarian aid.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the tunnel's construction was a clear violation of Israeli sovereignty and destroying it delivered a stinging blow to one of Hamas' most significant assets.

An IDF general on Sunday said the Israeli military had devised a solution that would see all of Hamas's cross-border tunnels into Israel destroyed.

He added that the tunnel could be used to move militants from Gaza into Egypt and attack Israel from Sinai.

Israel says it has destroyed what it called a "terror tunnel" on its borders with Gaza and Egypt, and says it was used to allow gunmen to attack Israel.

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"It was a terror tunnel created to strike strategic Israel assets", he said.

The tunnel, which was detected by a new Israeli underground warning system, was attacked by fighter jets.

As the tunnel entered Egyptian territory, the army was in contact with Cairo about its destruction, Conricus said, but would not elaborate on the extent of the cooperation.

Asked if the tunnel could have functioned as both a smuggling and attack tunnel, the army spokesperson responded, "It could have, but we deal with the infrastructure".

According to the military, the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing was a necessary security measure for those in the crossing area and while the consequences of the closure would be felt in the Strip, "the Hamas terror organization repeatedly chooses to harm the welfare of Gaza residents".