For years, Israel has known about the problem of Hamas terror tunnels – but when did officials realize the immediacy of its danger to civilians?
A special IDF unit operating near the Karni Crossing last week found itself in a fierce firefight with terrorists who suddenly emerged from a tunnel inside Israel.
The force, a unit from Squad Commanders’ Training School, neutralized one of the terrorists, although five Israeli soldiers were killed in combat as well.
During the subsequent operation to neutralize the tunnel, IDF forces discovered numerous entry and exit points, some only a few hundred meters from the place where the terrorists had emerged.
“We found motorcycles and weapons in a tunnel inside Israel,” an IDF commander said. “Hamas planned to use them to carry out a deadly attack against Israeli civilians and race back into Gaza with hostages.”
Three motorcycles were found, facing the opening of the tunnel into Israeli territory. They were ready for use in a complex terror attack on Israeli residential communities close to the Gaza border. The motorcycles had all been specially modified to be able to carry two people each, plus weapons, perform more efficiently and move at faster speeds to escape with their captives.
They also found a wide array of weaponry — including rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, explosives, launchers, and AK-47 assault rifles.
In addition, a large cache of explosives was found in a dug-out area just a few meters in, and to the side of the tunnel; a booby-trap meant to be detonated if any unit of IDF soldiers managed to enter the shaft.