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Israel Discovers Tunnel Leading To Gaza, Army Says

NPR icon by Steve Mullis
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David Buimovitch

Israeli military officials announced Sunday that they have discovered an underground tunnel that leads from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into Israel. They say the tunnel could have been used for an attack against Israelis.

In response, the military said it suspended the flow of building materials to Gaza's private sector. NPR's Emily Harris reported earlier this month that Israel had just recently eased restrictions on shipping of building materials, something that was seen as a major step in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Here's more from the The New York Times:

"Maj. Gen. Sami Turjeman, the Southern Command chief, said the freeze was ordered because Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, was using construction materials approved by Israel for civilian purposes to build tunnels like the one discovered recently.

Officials said Israel would continue to allow the transfer of construction materials for projects overseen by international organizations."

Military officials said the tunnel is about a mile long, though there are conflicting reports on when they believe the tunnel was actually constructed.

The Times reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised security forces for the discovery at the beginning of a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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