The discovery of the tunnel "prevented a terrorist attack in Israel," said Gen. Yoav Galant, head of the IDF Southern Command.
IDF sources several weeks ago predicted, "It only is a matter of time until the Arabs will succeed to dig tunnels into Israel. They have been working on them since the IDF withdrew from the Gaza area."
Col. Moni Katz, a brigade commander, said that the Palestinian Authority (PA) passed along information to the IDF about the tunnel, but did nothing to stop the terrorists from continuing to construct it. He added, "I estimate that also in the future there will be more attempts to dig tunnels."
Arab terrorists Saturday tried to attack Israel from the Gaza coast and throughout Judea and Samaria. A Navy boat spotted two swimmers carrying suspicious packages and equipped with diving gear, near the Gaza-Egypt border. After Navy officers tried to arrest them, terrorists on shore opened fire on the patrol boat, whose officers returned fire and killed one of the swimmers and injured the other. The packages sank.
On land, soldiers directed artillery fire on sites in Gaza where terrorists tried to launch mortar shells toward the Negev. No injuries were reported.
In Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem, the IDF arrested a 20-year-old terrorist who was planning to attack with explosive devices. On Friday, a 15-year-old was caught near the Hawara checkpoint near Shechem with improvised bombs.