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      Weapons Smuggling in Tunnels Resumes

      Secondary explosions in tunnels the IDF attacked prove that arms smuggling has resumed. Munitions factories also were bombed after rocket attacks.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 2/14/2009, 8:36 PM

      Israel News Photo: Flash 90

      Secondary explosions in four tunnels bombed by the IDF in southern Gaza late on Friday afternoon prove that arms smuggling has resumed. "Large secondary explosions were noticeable following part of the strikes, proving the presence of weapons and munitions," IDF spokesmen said.

      In mid-January, as Israel ended Operation Cast Lead against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni signed a Memo of Understanding with the United States. She said at the time, "For a cessation of hostilities to be durable, there must be an end to the smuggling of weapons into Gaza."

      Then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said at the time that the memo "provides a series of steps that the U.S. and Israel will take to stem the flow of weapons and explosives into Gaza."
      Rice said at the time that the memo "provides a series of steps that the U.S. and Israel will take to stem the flow of weapons and explosives into Gaza."

      Mark Regev, spokesman for outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, pointed out Saturday night that an end to weapons smuggling was not a condition to the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead and that the Sabbath eve bombing of the tunnels was Israel's answer to Hamas.

      An IDF spokeswoman said it could not clarify for publication if the Air Force knew ahead of time that the targeted tunnels were being used to transport more arms into Gaza at the time of the bombing. The Air Force also targeted two arms factories in Gaza following Kassam and Grad rocket attacks on Israel, one of them north of Ashkelon.

      Hamas said there were no injuries from the retaliatory actions.

      Despite the continuing rocket and mortar attacks, Israel has maintained the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza, overseeing 73 trucks at the Kerem Shalom crossing.