As part of ongoing activities to uncover weapons smuggling tunnels along the Israel-Egypt border, IDF forces have been operating in the Rafah area since December 23, 2003. During these operations, IDF forces carried out searches in a residential building suspected of harboring a smuggling tunnel. During the search, a tunnel 800 meters in length and 17 meters deep was indeed discovered and destroyed in a controlled manner by IDF sappers.
During the operation, an exchange of fire erupted between armed terrorists and the IDF. IDF forces returned fire, identifying direct hits among the terrorists.
In addition, during the operation, terrorists detonated a number of explosive devices, fired 15 anti-tank missiles and hurled dozens of grenades. IDF forces left the Rafah area at the conclusion of the operation.
It is important to note that since the beginning of the year, IDF forces uncovered over 40 weapons smuggling tunnels along the Israel-Egypt border.
Since the beginning of the year, there has been a steep rise in hostile terrorist activity against Israeli citizens and IDF forces. Since the beginning of the current conflict, terrorists have fired 298 anti-tank missiles, 892 mortars, 143 Qassam rockets, detonated 347 explosive devices, hurled 908 grenades and opened fire in over 4,000 incidents at Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip.
The discovery of a tunnel in a residential structure is another example of the cynical use by terrorist organizations of the Palestinian civilian population, by putting their safety at dire risk.
The IDF will continue its operations to uncover weapon smuggling tunnels, in order to prevent them from arming themselves and gaining the means to carry out their attacks against the Israeli population.