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Hamas: Israel Gaza tunnel claim aimed at covering up regime’s crimes in coastal enclave

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement says Israel’s claims about discovering a cross-border tunnel in the northern part of the besieged Gaza Strip are aimed at covering up the recent crimes committed by Israeli military forces in the coastal enclave.

In a statement on Monday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused the Tel Aviv regime of trying “to market fake achievements and victories for the Israeli society" to use them in the upcoming legislative elections, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

However, he stressed that the Palestinian resistance has the right to use all means to enhance and develop its capabilities in order to be able to face the enemy and respond to its crimes.

Barhoum's remarks came after the Israeli military claimed earlier in the day that it has detonated a tunnel belonging to the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, on the border in northern Gaza.

The military said it had identified the tunnel "with two routes" which crossed into the Israeli side of the border, adding that it  "did not pose a threat to Israeli communities in the area near the Gaza Strip."

The Israeli military further said the tunnel was "neutralized" but did not immediately reply to a query as to how, having previously destroyed or flooded such structures.

The Israeli military has repeatedly said over the past years that it has destroyed tunnels running from Gaza into the occupied territories, which it claims were dug by Hamas with the aim of carrying out attacks.

The latest report came just over a week after a three-day conflict between Israel and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza ended with an Egyptian-brokered truce.

Last weekend, Israeli aircraft mounted an offensive in the Gaza Strip targeting the Islamic Jihad and setting off three days of fierce cross-border fighting.

In response to the airstrikes, the Islamic Jihad fired hundreds of rockets during the flare-up.

Forty-nine Palestinians, including 17 children and 14 members of the Islamic Jihad, were killed, and several hundred were injured in the air attacks, which ended with an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire.

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