Explosives, Weaponry in Hebron Tunnel

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HEBRON, Israel - Initial reports that no weapons or explosives were found in the smuggling tunnel discovered in Hebron Monday have proven false.

According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, both explosives and arms stored in the tunnel were confiscated by Palestinian Authority security forces, before alerting IDF officials, who sent Engineering Corps soldiers to destroy the tunnel - dug big enough inside to walk upright.

What remains a mystery is the tunnel's direction, toward Route 35, which connects the Gaza Strip with the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), near the Arab village of Tarkumiya.

Several possibilities are being considered, one defense official said.

One theory is to allow Hamas-affiliated Palestinians in Judea and Samaria to operate undetected by the IDF or Fatah's security forces.

Orit Struck, a spokeswoman for Hebron's Jewish community, learned about the hidden explosives from IDF officials, who called the discovery "very worrisome."

"We feel very threatened," she said, "and the danger from the Palestinians has not decreased. There are no peaceful intentions on the part of the Palestinians here," she said.

The discovery of the sophisticated tunnel and its weapons' cache highlights Hebron's Jewish community's objection to Defense Minister Ehud Barak's plan to deploy additional PA security forces there.

Last year, the IDF discovered several smaller and less well-constructed tunnels in Nablus (biblical Shechem).

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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