WATCH: IDF soldiers uncover tunnel shaft in mosque

Weapons also found at Gaza Strip prayer house; army set to intensify operation in coming days

The IDF released video footage Thursday of a tunnel shaft in the basement of a mosque in the Gaza Strip. The tunnel, which is situated next to the mosque’s prayer room, extends in various directions and is connected to a larger tunnel network.

Weapons were also found at the site, according to the IDF.

On Wednesday, the security cabinet instructed the IDF to continue “forcefully hitting Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza,” and to conclude its mission of destroying the tunnels leading from the Strip into Israel, a diplomatic source said.

The IDF began Operation Protective Edge on July 8 with the goal of halting rocket fire from Gaza at Israeli towns and destroying a network of tunnels, dug by members of the Islamist Hamas organization under the border into Israel, from which terrorists have launched lethal ambushes on Israeli forces.

The IDF’s Southern Command chief, Sami Turgeman, said Wednesday that “many hundreds” of Hamas operatives had been killed in the operation. Turgeman stated that the IDF had destroyed hundreds of weapons storage facilities, and significantly compromised Hamas’s infrastructure.

He said the IDF was “days away” from completing the military goal of destroying all of the tunnels, though the process is complex.

Raphael Ahren contributed to this report

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