Israel’s efforts to defend itself against terrorist infiltration have taken many forms over the years as threats have emerged.
On Sunday, the nation announced a new first in its border defenses: Destroying a naval tunnel built by Hamas terrorists to attack the Jewish State by sea.
According to The Jerusalem Post, the Israel Defense Forces struck the tunnel by air on June 3 after discovering it several months ago.
The tunnel extended from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into the Mediterranean Sea north to approach Israeli territory, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“The tunnel, which was operational but did not actually extend into Israeli waters, would have enabled militants who would enter from a Hamas military post in the northern Gaza Strip to exit into the sea unnoticed, making it possible to carry out terrorist acts against the State of Israel from the sea,” the newspaper reported.
A senior IDF official who spoke to the Post said building the tunnel had cost Hamas a “great deal” of money, and that the terrorist group had trained its fighters to use it.
“The bottom line is that it was a tunnel that would allow for the departure of Hamas naval commando forces,” the officer said. “We estimate that there may be more such naval tunnels.”
On Sunday, the IDF released a video of what it said was the tunnel’s destruction.
In an official statement, the IDF declared it would not tolerate any threats against the Israeli people.
“The IDF will not allow harm to the security of the State of Israel and will continue to act resolutely against terrorism of all kinds,” the statement noted. The military “is determined to continue its mission of protecting the citizens and sovereignty of the State of Israel.”
As the Jerusalem Post reported: “In February, a senior Naval officer warned that Hamas was increasingly turning to the sea to carry out attacks against IDF troops and Israeli civilians, saying that ‘Hamas sees potential in the sea like they saw potential in their tunnels.’”
In response, Israel has begun building a naval wall similar to the wall it’s built on its borders to keep out overland infiltration.
“This is the only obstacle of its kind in the world, which will effectively block the possibility of infiltrating into Israel via the sea, and this will further thwart Hamas’s strategic capabilities,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in May when the project was announced.
That naval wall isn’t expected to be completed until next year, the Jerusalem Post reported.
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