'Nobody wants an escalation'

Commander of IDF’s Southern Brigade assures residents of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom that they are safe following terror tunnel demolition.

Elad Benari ,

Hamas terror tunnel
Hamas terror tunnel
IDF Spokesperson's Unit

Colonel Kobi Heller, the commander of the IDF’s Southern Brigade, on Sunday evening met with the residents of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, located near the border with Gaza.

The meeting was held hours after the IDF finished demolishing a Hamas terror tunnel that passed under the Kerem Shalom Crossing from Gaza into Israel.

"Nobody wants to reach an escalation in the situation,” Heller told the residents, as quoted on Israeli media, and added, “We have responded to each rocket attack. Some of the retaliations were large but there has been zero response from the Gazan side. This shows our high deterrence.”

The senior officer also related to the process of demolishing the tunnel that was destroyed Sunday, saying, "The demolition process that began at the end of the week and concluded today resulted in the total sealing of a tunnel that was very significant. We will make an effort to find all the tunnels that penetrate from Gaza into the area."

Heller spoke about the ground barrier that is being built these days and discussed its security implications.

"This is the first time in history that there is a physical barrier between Kerem Shalom and Gaza," he stressed. "This creates a more significant sense of security above and below the ground, which is a true message to the residents regarding the discovery of the tunnels."

"The situation in the Gaza Strip is not good. The dynamics in the near future will determine what will happen here. The best military force in the country is here in Kerem Shalom. So go to sleep quietly and remain calm,” he concluded.