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The tunnel is a large one, with a 13-meter-deep shaft (42.5 feet) and a 150-meter-long corridor (165 yards). Its entrance to the tunnel was found inside a house in the residential area of Saja'iye, though it is likely to have other tunnels leading to it as well. IDF forces are preparing to collapse the tunnel, probably later today (Wednesday).
The IDF forces have been operating in the Saja'iye area for several days, having killed 13 terrorists and wounding another ten.
Targeting Their Own Lifeline
Though the Karni Crossing is one of the main lifelines of the Gaza populace, by which merchandise and medical supplies are brought into the area, terrorists continually target it. For this reason, and due to the many security warnings regarding terrorists' intentions to attack there, the army has repeatedly closed and re-opened it over the past months.
"The targeting of Karni by the terror organizations, along with other crossings such as Erez and Kerem Shalom, is a deliberate attempt by terrorists to weaken the Palestinian economy," the IDF announced. "The targeting of these crossings, which are reopened again and again after attacks, is a cynical exploitation of the Israeli effort to ease the daily lives of Palestinian civilians who are not involved in terror activity."
Many more tunnels are assumed to be under construction or completed, and intelligence warnings of tunnels and intended terror attacks stream in all the while.
Two tunnels were also recently discovered leading to the Kerem Shalom crossing, apparently intended for use in smuggling arms and ammunition from Egypt into Gaza.
Just ten weeks ago, Corp. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped from his tank, and two soldiers were killed, when eight Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel via a tunnel they dug from Gaza. Soldiers in Shalit's unit participated in finding the tunnel that was discovered this week.
Four months ago, a Hamas-affiliated terror cell attempted to carry out a large-scale attack at Karni, bringing three vehicles to the crossing - one filled with a large amount of explosives, and the other two carrying armed gunmen. The plan was apparently to infiltrate the crossing and blow up an opening in the Israel-Gaza separation barrier, through which the terrorists would cross over to the Israeli side and open fire at civilians and security personnel.
The last Karni attack in which Israelis were killed occurred in January 2005, in a joint Hamas/Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades/Popular Resistance Committees attack. The terrorists bombed the separation wall and infiltrated into the Israeli side, opening fire in all directions and murdering six Israelis and wounding five others.