Stunning Images Of A Tunnel Found From Gaza Strip Into Israel

The Israeli military said Sunday it discovered a concrete-lined tunnel dug from the Gaza Strip into Israel, and charged militants planned to use it to attack or kidnap Israelis. Israel has again frozen the transfer of all construction materials to the Palestinian territory.

Amir Cohen / Reuters

The Israeli military’s running battle against smugglers and militants in the Gaza strip, which is controlled by the group Hamas, last week exposed a mile-long, concrete-lined tunnel passage believed to have been in use for more than a year.

The Israeli military said the tunnel was detected during a routine patrol and was the third such tunnel found in the past year. Hamas blew up the Gaza side of the tunnel after figuring out that Israel had detected it, the Israeli military said.

A Hamas military spokesman in Gaza, Abu Obeida, said on his official Twitter account that “thousands” more tunnels would be dug out. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said the discovery of the “terror tunnel” shows that Hamas continues to prepare for fighting against Israel.

In 2006, Hamas and other militant groups used a tunnel to sneak into Israel, killed two Israeli soldiers and kidnapped a third, Gilad Shalit, holding him hostage in Gaza for five years before he was released in a prisoner exchange. Hamas has largely observed a cease-fire with Israel that was brokered by Egypt since November 2012.

Maj. Guy Inbar, an Israeli military spokesman, said the halt on all construction material to Gaza, announced Sunday, was enacted for security reasons. Hamas had been using construction materials approved by Israel for civilian purposes to build tunnels like the one discovered, added Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman, Israel’s Southern Command chief.

3. “The tunnel is extremely advanced and well prepared” Brig. Gen. Mickey Edelstein, commander of Gaza Strip division, told reporters.

DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP / Getty Images

“Massive amount of concrete and cement have been used to build this tunnel.”

4. The Israeli military estimated that 500 tons of cement and concrete were used in the construction of the tunnel, and the structure took more than a year to build.

DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP / Getty Images

5. Israeli officials said the tunnel had two exits in an open area.

Amir Cohen / Reuters

6. The exits were roughly one mile from an Israeli village, Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha.

DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP / Getty Images

7. The military invited journalists into the tunnel, dug about 60 feet underground and roughly nearly six feet high.

Amir Cohen / Reuters

8. Concrete walls and arches lined the tunnel…

Amir Cohen / Reuters

9. And electrical cords could be seen along its walls.

Amir Cohen / Reuters

The tunnel had a rail for a small trolley, “probably intended to transfer terrorists or soldiers from side to side rapidly,” said Israeli defense minister, Moshe Yaalon.

10. The tunnel also included ventilation shafts.

DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP / Getty Images

11. The Israeli military also showed empty food wrappers, work gloves, and an axe-like digging tool it said it had found inside.

DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP / Getty Images

12. One of the cookie wrappers was dated June 2013, indicating workers had been inside the tunnel in recent months, reports AP.

Amir Cohen / Reuters

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