- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2014

Israeli authorities said Friday they’ve discovered one of the biggest terror tunnels ever near the Gaza border, a massive underground operation they believe was plotted by Hamas to carry out a substantial attack or kidnapping.

“This might be the biggest terror tunnel we ever exposed,” said one senior military official, of this week’s earlier finding, in Ynet News. Israeli intelligence suspects the tunnel — which winds hundreds of feet into the Jewish nation — was aimed at staging a kidnapping.

Hamas said the tunnel had been built years ago and was not being used. But Israeli security disputes that.

“This is one of the biggest tunnels we have seen so far, or possibly the biggest one,” and located inside were tools, a generator and evidence of recent activity, said one Israel Defense Forces official, in Ynet News. The findings “indicate that there has been excavation work in recent days. We are still unsure of the tunnel’s full length,” the IDF official continued.

Engineers for the military’s Gaza Division are trying to pull back the ground and see just how far into Israel the tunnel has forged.

No weapons were found, but an IDF official said the tunnel was definitely a well-planned structure, with “more advanced branching” than others that Israel has unearthed, Ynet News reported.

He continued in the report: “The tunnel is of high quality, and it seems much thought was put into it, and it was designed for a significant attack, such as kidnapping or any other major attack.”

Some of the tools that were found inside were used to line the walls of the tunnel with cement, military officials said.

IDF officials have found a total of three terror tunnels in the past six months.