"It extended into Israel and violated Israeli sovereignty".
The Israeli Army on Sunday claimed to have discovered and destroyed a tunnel allegedly extending tens of metres into Israel from Gaza and that belonged to the Islamist movement Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip. Israel has since been developing detection technologies and laying down an underground frontier wall which, it says, will end the Gaza tunnel threat by 2019.
Yitzhak Dreksler, an IDF soldier seriously injured during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, passed away on Saturday afternoon following.
Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade for more than a decade, while its border with Egypt has also remained largely closed in recent years.
The tunnel crossed into Israeli territory by several yards but did not yet have an exit point, military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told journalists.
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"There was no use of explosives, but rather, we filled the tunnel, which rendered it useless for a very long period of time".
Some military sources hypothesized that the recent Hamas-led riots in the area were orchestrated to divert attention from the tunnels, reflecting the terror group's complete military and political control of Gaza. The protests are to culminate in a large rally on May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel's creation.
The death brings to 28 the number of protesters killed in two weeks of border protests. Ronen Manelis said in a statement that the demonstrations on the last three Fridays at the Gaza border fence, as well as violent incidents on the border prior to the demonstrations were meant to be a cover for the work on the tunnel near the border.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said geophysicists from his ministry were involved in the anti-tunnel efforts, as well as researchers from the Technion, an Israeli university, and from state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.