IDF machinery searching for tunnels
IDF machinery searching for tunnels IDF Spokesperson Unit

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke on Monday about how the IDF uncovered a Hamas terror tunnel in the region immediately surrounding Gaza, marking the first terror tunnel breaching into Israeli sovereign territory found since 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

Netanyahu warned that Israel would respond with force to any attempt by Hamas to harm Israeli civilians.

"In recent days the state of Israel has achieved a global breakthrough in the ability to locate tunnels," revealed Netanyahu. "I congratulate the IDF Chief of Staff, the IDF, the Shabak (Israeli Security Agency - ed.), intelligence and technology members for this unique breakthrough."

The Prime Minister said that the government is investing huge resources to thwart the tunnel threat.

"This is an ongoing effort, it won't end overnight, we are investing in it and we will continue to invest with diligence and firmness," he said.

Netanyahu emphasized that "Israel will respond with force to any attempt by Hamas to attack its soldiers and attack its civilians. I am certain that Hamas understands that well."

Addressing residents of the Gaza Belt region surrounding Gaza, he added, "the IDF is working around the clock to ensure your security and your daily routines."

The newly found tunnel was a particularly large and complex one; its route stretched along the eastern sector of Gaza all the way to southern Gaza, and crossed onto the Israeli side. At some points it reached as much as 30 meters in depth.

Hamas responded to the find, saying that it was merely a "drop in the ocean."

The IDF has warned that Hamas is focusing its efforts on one central terror tunnel, where 1,000 terrorists are said to be working on a tunnel going deep into Israeli territory to facilitate attacks. In recent months Gaza's attack and smuggling tunnels have suffered no fewer than 11 mysterious collapses, leaving an estimated 20 Gazans dead, most of them Hamas terrorists.