JERUSALEM – The Israeli army claimed on Sunday to have discovered and destroyed a tunnel allegedly extending tens of meters into Israel from Gaza and that belonged to the Islamist movement Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.
Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus confirmed the destruction of the tunnel, the fifth such tunnel to have been found in the last five months, which the army said started from Jabalia in northern Gaza and ended near the Israeli community of Nahal Oz.
“The route of the terror tunnel was identified by security forces early on and monitored thereafter,” the Israel army said in a separate statement on Twitter.
Israeli army also claimed that “The violent riots that have been taking place in the area of the security fence are an attempt to mask the terror attacks intended to take place above and below ground.”
Since March 30, thousands of peaceful Palestinian demonstrators have set up protest tent camps along the Gaza-Israel border, and the Israeli military has killed at least 33 demonstrators during marches that have taken place near the border each Friday.
According to the United Nations, over 3,700 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli forces during the Friday marches; 969 Palestinians on April 13, another 1,350 people on April 6 and 1,416 people on March 30.
The protests are calling for the right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, who according to the United Nations make up around two thirds of Gaza’s population, to return to their homeland inside what is now Israel.