The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday released photographs of an “old” cross-border attack tunnel from the Gaza Strip that it uncovered the day before, as well as video footage of forces surveying the underground passage.
The photos showed rough-hewn sections of the tunnel, which is the 18th cross-border passage discovered since the end of the 2014 war. In the short video clip, soldiers are seen apparently measuring the depth of the tunnel.
The military on Tuesday said the tunnel was “old,” without elaborating.
According to Channel 13 television, the Israeli authorities were investigating whether the tunnel was used in the 2006 Hamas kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
“Forces investigated the route during the past 24 hours and will continue with the mission,” the army said in a statement.
The military on Monday said the tunnel was found during the construction of an underground barrier around the Palestinian coastal enclave, five years after the start of a operation aimed at finding and destroying such passages.
The military proposed building the underground barrier on the Gaza border following the 2014 Gaza war, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge. During the fighting, the Hamas terror group made extensive use of its tunnel networks to send fighters into Israel, as well as to move its terrorist operatives and munitions within the Gaza Strip.
Work began in earnest on the Defense Ministry-led project in 2016. According to the military, it is due to be completed by the end of 2019.
The 65-kilometer (40 mile) barrier is being constructed entirely inside Israeli territory, 50 meters (some 55 yards) from the Gaza border at its closest point and 300 meters (328 yards) away at its farthest.
Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel, seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, and is the de facto ruler of the territory.