Israeli Troops Destroy Hamas Underwater Access Tunnel

A Molotov cocktail kite is seen flying over the Israeli side of the border as thousands of Palestinian demonstrators gather near the border fence between Gaza and Israel in southern Israel 08 June 2018. Palestinians mark the Naksa Day Al Quds Day (Jeru

A Molotov cocktail kite is seen flying over the Israeli side of the border as thousands of Palestinian demonstrators gather near the border fence between Gaza and Israel in southern Israel 08 June 2018. Palestinians mark the Naksa Day Al Quds Day (Jeru

The tunnel was destroyed by the Air Force on June 3, when Israel carried out several airstrikes on Gaza in retaliation for rocket and mortar fire on southern Israel, the IDF said in a statement issued on Sunday, a week after the airstrikes.

Conricus said that the tunnel ran from a military facility of Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas into the Mediterranean sea, "a few dozen metres away" at a depth underwater of two to three metres.

The kites have become a potent symbol of a wave of Palestinian protests that broke out on March 30 against Israel's crippling decade-long blockade of Gaza.

The tunnel provided Hamas covert access to the Mediterranean coast, though it did not actually reach Israeli waters, stopping 3 kilometers short of the northern border with Israel, IDF spokesman Lt. Col Jonathan Conricus revealed to global media in a phone briefing.

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The newspaper points out, however, that while the IDF believes that Hamas used the tunnel for training purposes, "it is not known to have been used to launch attacks".

Israel has placed a high priority on eliminating the tunnel threat since Hamas gunmen infiltrated Israel during the 2014 war.

He said it was probable there were more like it not yet located by Israel.

Protests peaked on May 14 when at least 61 Palestinians were killed in demonstrations to coincide with the controversial opening of the United States embassy in Jerusalem.

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