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      Major Tunnel Terror Attack Averted

      A long terrorist tunnel was discovered leading from the Arab Gaza city of Khan Yunis towards Gush Katif. It was to be used for an attack either during or after Israel's scheduled withdrawal.
      First Publish: 5/31/2005, 9:26 AM / Last Update: 5/31/2005, 10:06 AM

      The tunnel was ten meters (11 yards) deep and 50 meters long, headed for the veteran Gush Katif communities of either Netzer Hazani or Katif. Cooperation between the Palestinian Authority security forces and the IDF led to the tunnel's discovery.

      IDF analysts assume that the tunnel was planned to smuggle terrorists into a community and/or to blow it up under Israel's retreating/evacuating forces. In either event, it is seen as yet another worrisome sign that the terrorists are preparing for a major clash with Israel during and after the planned disengagement.

      The height of tunnel-related terrorist deaths occurred last year. On May 12, 2004, five soldiers were brutally killed - their bodies were searched for and could not be identified for up to two days - when they were engaged in a tunnel-destroying mission in Gaza. The month afterwards, another soldier was killed was killed when hundreds of kilograms of explosives were detonated under an IDF outpost near Gush Katif. The terrorists had aimed for the living quarters, but hit the parking lot instead.

      A day later, six soldiers were wounded in a similar underground explosion. In October, another soldier was killed, and in December, five Bedoun Patrol Battalion soldiers were killed in a well-planned attack on an army post on the Israeli-Egyptian border, including the detonation of over a ton of explosives in an underground tunnel that had been dug for months beforehand.