The Israeli military destroyed a Hamas tunnel in southern Gaza on Sunday morning and struck an underground “military complex” in central Gaza, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said.
According to Conricus, Hamas was trying to reconnect an old tunnel, destroyed in July 2014, to a new section of tunnel in southern Gaza. Conricus added that Israel has been monitoring the digging using new detection technology for the last few weeks.
“What Hamas was trying to do was build kind of a detour – a new tunnel that would link up with a new part that they thought would be usable,” Conricus said.
The tunnel was destroyed from within Israeli territory, but not with explosives. Conricus said that it was filled with a “certain compound” that would render the tunnel useless. The military would not provide further information on what was used to make the tunnel useless.
This marks the fourth Gaza tunnel Israel has destroyed since late-October. The third tunnel, destroyed in mid-January, was a mile-long tunnel dug under Israel that stretched from Gaza to Egypt.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman commented on the tunnel, saying, “I suggest Hamas invests their money in the welfare of the residents of Gaza, because they won’t have any more tunnels by the end of the year.”
In a separate incident over the weekend, the Israeli air force struck what the IDF termed an “underground military complex” in central Gaza.
In response to Israel’s actions, Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said, “The enemy thinks that this escalation will achieve its objectives and break the will of the Palestinian people. The occupation is held accountable for the continued escalation.”
Overnight Saturday, the Israeli air force struck what they termed a “military target” in the northern Gaza strip, the Israeli military said, after an explosive device was detonated near the security fence between Israel and Gaza. The military first responded with tank fire directed at a Hamas military observation post in Gaza, before turning to air strikes.
“From our perspective, Hamas is responsible for any act of hostility that emanates from Gaza,” Conricus said.
Tensions between Israel and Gaza have remained high ever since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December. Hamas and other Palestinian factions in Gaza have regularly called for “Days of Rage,” fueling wide-scale protests along the Gaza border.
The most recent “Day of Rage” was this past Friday to mark 100 days since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem.
CNN’s Amir Tal and Abeer Salman contributed to this report.