The Israeli Air Force late Thursday night bombed a northern Gaza tunnel designed to smuggle terrorists and weapons into the Western Negev and to be used to stage an attack on Israelis and kidnapping of citizens or soldiers. It was the second such strike in a week.
The tunnel, like the one bombed late last Saturday night, was dug underneath a Gaza home about one mile from the barrier. Hamas often has threatened to kidnap Israelis, and terrorists still are holding kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit captive more than three years after a raid on a Gaza crossing that killed two other soldiers.
The bombing, around midnight, carried out the government policy to strike back immediately following mortar shelling and rocket attacks from Gaza. Earlier Thursday, Hamas and allied terrorists fired seven mortar shells at Israeli farms, causing no injuries or direct damage, although the attacks often cause losses kibbutzim and moshavim because they prevent farmers from remaining in the fields.
Terrorists also shot at soldiers carrying out maintenance work near the Kissufim crossing.
Hamas had maintained an almost total halt of attacks for several weeks until late last month, when it started to ratchet up strikes near the Gaza security and separation barrier. Gaza Belt communities and soldiers have sustained approximately 225 mortar shells and Kassam rockets since the end of Operation Cast Lead last January.