|Another of the hundreds of tunnels to and from Gaza|
Two examples from Monday (yesterday).
A tunnel large enough to allow people to get from the Gaza Strip into Israel and back was uncovered by an IDF patrol next to Kibbutz Nir Oz (the news was cleared for publication this morning). The kibbutz (population: about 350) makes silicon sealants, sells engineering services and grows asparagus. But it does very little business in Gaza these days, so it's not so likely the tunnel started on the Israeli side.
Much more probable, given that its dimensions and design resemble the tunnel used for kidnapping Private Gilad Shalit in June 2006 (and killing two other IDF servicemen in the same attack), is that the tunnel was constructed to carry out acts of terrorism against Israelis.
Perhaps it was inspired by the $100,000 reward offered some time ago by a Saudi Arabian religious leader called Awad al-Qarni for kidnapping an Israeli soldier. Whatever the plan, the IDF's statement today calls the tunnel a “serious security threat” and that sounds accurate.
Note that the report quite irrelevantly says
"Hamas relies heavily on tunnels between Gaza and Egypt to smuggle goods and arms into the Strip, which is partially blockaded by Israel"but this observation is of small value in explaining why there are tunnels running between Gaza and Israel.
Also Monday, the Egyptian news media report that their security services intercepted 89 anti-aircraft missiles and a rocket-propelled grenade found inside a cave in the an-Nakhl area region in the center of the Sinai Peninsula, and that the Egyptians and the "arms smugglers" conducted a shoot-out. We blogged about another such intercept on Saturday (see "12-Jan-13: In Sinai, they keep saying 'nothing can be done except to take cover'"). When weapons are found in the lawless Sinai, they are almost certainly intended for the very willing arms of the terrorists of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.