Israeli Military Blows Up Terror Tunnel

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The Israeli Defense Forces blew up a second terror tunnel on Tuesday near the site where they showed a massive terrorist tunnel to journalists on Sunday, after lifting a gag order on the discovery. 

The spokesperson's office said the IDF had detonated a cache of explosives found inside the tunnel as well as charges to demolish the terrorist infrastructure there.

It is the third such tunnel uncovered along the security barrier with the Gaza Strip this past year, as well as the tallest and most technically advanced.

Maj.-Gen. Sami Turgeman, head of the IDF Southern Command, said "Hamas invested tens of millions of dollars" in the tunnel's construction.

"Instead of investing in schools or civilian industry and employment, Hamas invests in terror tunnels," Turgeman said.

Israeli troops found caches of explosives at several locations in the 1.7-kilometer (mile-long) tunnel, 20 meters (yards) deep and wired with phone lines and its own electricity source. It was dug from a village near Khan Younis to Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha. The IDF said terrorists planned to attack the kindergarten there.

IDF sappers neutralized the explosives and sealed off several offshoots to the main tunnel, saying Hamas planned to use the tunnel to launch its next round of terror attacks against Israel. Hamas has stepped up attempts to plant explosives near the security fence in recent weeks.

"The tunnel was built with approximately 500 tons of cement and concrete," the IDF Spokesperson's Office said in a statement Sunday...Sufficient evidence suggests that terrorists methodically abuse construction materials transferred into the Strip by Israel as humanitarian aid in order to build such tunnels."

Israel recently began transferring concrete, concrete slabs and other construction materials to alleviate shortages for residential building after Egypt sealed off many of the tunnels to prevent Hamas from smuggling arms and jihadist to terror cells in the Sinai.

Turgeman said Hamas exploited Israel's "good intentions" to help Gaza residents by building terror tunnels with the materials. It is using the current ceasefire, he said, to build up the terror infrastructure.

IDF Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot ordered a halt to further transfer of construction materials to Gaza Sunday morning, pending further investigation.

The majority of terror tunnels connecting Gaza and Israel have yet to be exposed. In 2006, seven Gaza terrorists used a tunnel to infiltrate Israel and abduct former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised "the soldiers of the IDF for uncovering the terrorist tunnel from Gaza," while acknowleging "an increase in terrorist actions in recent weeks."

Gaza Division Commander Brig. Gen. Mickey Edelstein said "The IDF holds the Hamas terror organization as the sole responsible body for all terror activities emanating from the Gaza Strip and continues to operate on the intelligence and operational levels in order to apprehend terror attacks."

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