Israel Strikes Gaza Tunnels After Bombs Found on Beach

By JTA

Published February 03, 2010.
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Israel attacked two Gaza smuggling tunnels in response to Hamas’ attempt to attack Israeli targets in the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel’s Air Force on Tuesday night successfully hit and destroyed two smuggling tunnels used by Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip, according to the IDF spokespersons’ office.

On Wednesday, a third explosives-laden barrel released by Palestinian terrorists washed up on the beach at Palmachim, in central Israel.

One of the tunnels was used for the infiltration of terrorists into Israel and the other for smuggling weapons, according to the IDF. Three Gazan Palestinians were injured in the attack, according to Palestinian reports.

According to the IDF spokesmans’ office, the strike was in retaliation for Hamas’ attempt to blow up Israeli targets in the Mediterranean Sea using explosives-laden barrels, two of which washed up Monday on the shores of southern Israeli beaches in Ashdod and Ashkelon. Several others reportedly exploded in the sea on Friday. The attack was also in retaliation for a rocket shot from Gaza at a civilian area in southern Israel, according to the IDF. No injuries or damage were reported. Some 19 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza last month alone.

Israeli police continue to patrol beaches looking for additional explosives, and have called on the public to be alert for suspicious objects, Haaretz reported. Police are also using helicopters to look for more explosives. They are concerned that storms predicted for the rest of the week will wash other barrels ashore.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Abu Saed, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, a Gaza faction with close ties to Hamas, said that there are still many barrel bombs in the sea that have not yet exploded. He said the attack was to avenge the assassination last month of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room. Hamas accuses Israel of the murder.






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