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Netanyahu hints at Gaza tunnel strike, says Hamas should fear 'greater' response

14 January 2018

Medical sources in Gaza said that Abdullah Zeidan, 33, from the Shati refugee camp, was shot in the chest by Egyptian forces near the naval border with Egypt in the south of the coastal enclave.

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 objective of transferring terrorists from Gaza to Egypt, from where the targets could have been killed.

"This is 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", read a statement by the IDF.

Israeli military spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said the tunnel belonged to Palestinian Militant movement Hamas and was intended for attacks as opposed to smuggling.

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The strike came shortly after the military announced it would not be opening the Kerem Shalom Crossing into the Gaza Strip on Sunday, following a "situational assessment". According to the Israeli military, the tunnel was made by the Hamas, which is a terrorist group that has a major influence in the Palestine complex.

The tunnel was positioned in southern Gaza, near the Kerem Shalom crossing where the borders of Israel, Gaza and Sinai meet.

Tensions have risen since President Donald Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy on December 6 by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Palestinian security sources in Gaza said nobody was hurt in the Israeli strike.

Israel has now confirmed that it attacked and destroyed the Gaza Channel that stretches into Egypt.

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Commenting on the demolition of the tunnel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that "some people say that when the IDF attacks Gaza they are hitting sand dunes, but that is incorrect". "Hamas must understand that we will not permit these attacks and we will respond with even greater force".

The Israeli military said it has destroyed three tunnels in the past two months.

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

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Netanyahu hints at Gaza tunnel strike, says Hamas should fear 'greater' response