Hamas is vowing to dig more tunnels like the one discovered by the Israel Defense Forces last week near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, which is adjacent to Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip.
A spokesman for Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades, said on Twitter that “the minds which manage to dig the tunnel can dig dozens more,” the BBC reported.
The tunnel was discovered October 7 after kibbutz residents complained of hearing unusual noises. According to the IDF, the tunnel is just over 6 feet in height and runs roughly 1.7 kilometers in length.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told the BBC that Israel was “exaggerating” reports about the size of the tunnel in what he called an attempt to “try to justify the blockade and the continuous aggression on the Gaza Strip.”
Israeli officials did not reveal the discovery of the tunnel until Sunday because of efforts by an elite IDF unit to defuse any explosives onsite.
Following the announcement Israel also said that it would be halting the delivery of construction materials into Gaza. Some 350 trucks carry cement and other building materials into Gaza Strip every week, according to Israel Hayom, a privilege resumed only last month after a six year moratorium.
Military sources told Israel Hayom that the tunnel, the third of its kind to be discovered in Israel over the past year, was dug using advanced machinery, and was most likely to be used for the purpose of executing a terror attack or abducting Israeli soldiers.
GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman said Sunday that the tunnel constituted “a gross violation of [Israel’s] sovereignty,” adding that “if Hamas pursues a terror attack it will pay a heavy price for it. Gaza Strip will not be the same if such a terror attack is realized.”