It is one of Israel’s stated objectives in its current operation in the Gaza strip: destroying the network of tunnels used by Hamas militants to cross the border into Israeli territory and carry out attacks on civilians and soldiers.
This week, FRANCE 24’s Chris Moore was given a guided tour of one such tunnel, one of the few yet to be destroyed by the Israeli military.
With walls of concrete and barely enough room to stand, the tunnel is cramped but sophisticated; telephone and electricity cables run along the walls while a rail on the floor allows for quick access and escape.
Located just outside the city of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, the tunnel, up to 3km in length, leads out to a kibbutz across the Israeli border.
Israeli army captain Daniel Elbo tells FRANCE 24 the tunnel only has one purpose.
“This is to infiltrate Israel and bring terrorists inside it, they want us to be killed or injured or even to kidnap civilians or soldiers from Israel,” he says. “A tunnel like this was used just two days ago for these purposes.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday the country’s military was “days” from achieving its core goal of destroying all of Hamas' cross-border tunnels, while on Thursday it mobilised an additional 16,000 army reservists to assist in its Gaza ground operations.
But while tunnels have been put out of action, Israel is keeping this one open to show to the world’s media.
“I'm in touch with the situation on the ground and it's important to show the foreign media what's happening here,” says Elbo.
Date created : 2014-07-31