Home inContext IDF Destroys Gaza Tunnel, Highlights Underground Barrier

IDF Destroys Gaza Tunnel, Highlights Underground Barrier

Michael Johnson
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Brig. Gen. (res.) Eran Ofir visit a construction site where a new underground barrier is being constructed along the Gaza border in southern Israel on October 25, 2017. (Photo: Israeli Defense Ministry)

The IDF announced Monday that it had blown up part of a terrorist tunnel dug under Israeli territory near the border with Gaza. Seven operatives died in the tunnel’s collapse.

According to Palestinian news organizations, five of the Palestinians killed belonged to the terrorist group Islamic Jihad, including a commander, Arafat abu Murshid. Two Hamas members died trying to rescue the diggers.

Israeli officials official believe the tunnel emanated from the southern city of Khan Younis and characterized the underground passageway as a “grave and unacceptable violation of Israeli sovereignty.” The UN agency for Palestinians also announced that it had found a separate tunnel two weeks ago built under a school in the enclave.

The IDF’s statement also referenced the “advanced technology” that helped detect the tunnel, likely referring a $530 million concrete barrier that the Israeli government began construction on in September last year. The underground wall, when finished, will surround the entire 37-mile border with Gaza and will include specially designed sensors to detect tunneling activity.  

An August expose in The Times of Israel describes over 1,000 workers operating at sites near the border to support digging a trench with hydromill. The narrow hole is then filled with a self-expanding clay to detect any tunnels and support newly built trench, before steel rebar, concrete and sensors are placed in the opening.

During a visit to Gaza border last week, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman toured one of the construction sites for the barrier, confirming that the project was on schedule and should be complete within two years. He also emphasized the barrier’s importance in preventing future terrorist attacks. Monday’s events proved him right.