Photo Credit: IDF
IDF soldiers in Operation Northern Shield

Israel has destroyed 15 Hamas terror tunnels that penetrated into southern Israeli territory over the past year – including one operational tunnel extending into the Mediterranean Sea. That particular tunnel was designed for Hamas naval commandos to exit and enter the northern Gaza Strip unnoticed via an underwater outlet.

The IDF completed construction this year of 27 kilometers (16.8 miles) of an Israeli underground barrier designed to block Hamas tunnels from infiltrating into Israeli territory from Gaza. The barrier, which continues beyond the land and into the sea, will also block Hamas naval commandos from infiltration efforts via the Mediterranean.

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In the north, IDF engineers have completed 13 kilometers (8 miles) of a nine-meter-high (30 ft) concrete barrier along the northern border with Lebanon, and two and a half kilometers on the northern border with Syria and Jordan.

The IDF has also identified and destroyed at least five Hezbollah cross-border attack tunnels penetrating into northern Israeli territory from southern Lebanon. Operation Northern Shield is continuing with its goal of identifying and eliminating the remaining existing cross-border attack tunnels dug by the Iranian-backed terror organization, whose leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has clearly stated the group’s intention to invade and conquer Israel’s northern Galilee region.

“We acted successfully against the precision capabilities that [Hezbollah] tried to achieve and against their attempts to establish themselves on the Golan Heights front,” the IDF Spokesperson said in a statement last week.

“It’s not hard to imagine what would have happened if hundreds of Hezbollah operatives had entered [Israel from Lebanon] through underground attack tunnels. We detected and prepared for this threat in secret.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.