Israel suspends building supplies to Gaza

Israel suspends building supplies to Gaza
File photo shows Israeli soldiers standing guard.

EIN HASHLOSHA, Israel - Israel on Sunday froze shipments of building materials to the Gaza Strip after discovering an alleged "terror tunnel" into the Jewish state from the adjoining territory, a defence official said.

"Due to security reasons, (the army) decided to stop for now the transfer of building materials into Gaza," Guy Inbar told AFP.

Inbar, spokesman for the Israeli defence ministry unit responsible for civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories, did not say how long the ban would remain in force.

Last month Israel permitted delivery of cement and steel for use by the private sector into the Gaza Strip for the first time since 2007, when Israel banned their transfer fearing that Gaza's militant Hamas rulers would use construction materials to fortify its positions and build tunnels for militant attacks on the Jewish state.

Israeli officials said on Sunday that a sophisticated tunnel running 450 metres (yards) into Israel and intended as a springboard for militant attacks had been uncovered by troops.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the army "for exposing the Gaza terror tunnel" at a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.

"It is part of our offensive policy against terror, both in prevention and intelligence, proactive activity, reactive activity," he said.

The army did not immediately publish details of the tunnel, but the head of the Israeli local council where it was found said that he had been taken inside for an inspection.

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