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Cuomo, Leaders Tour Hamas Tunnels on Final Day of Israel Trip

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Albany/HV: Cuomo, Leaders to Meet Thursday with Wounded Israelis, Troops
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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state delegates have wrapped up their tour in Israel where they assured leaders that New York will always stand by the country.

The group spent their final day in an area located only about a mile from the border with the Gaza strip.

The New York delegation saw some of the launchers that make up Israel's Iron Dome, which shoots incoming rockets out of the sky.

The Israelis say the technology has been a game-changer.

"It has saved hundreds of Israeli lives. Plain and simple," said Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner of the Israeli Defense Forces. "We've had over 600 rockets that were supposed to hit densely populated areas, and all 600 times, it intercepted rockets that were supposed to strike those people."

The delegation then boarded armored vehicles and drove from the nearby kibbutz to a location just a mile east of the Gaza border. There, they got a first-hand look at the underground tunnels Hamas digs to burrow deeply into Israeli territory.

"It's always a new level of attack, and there's always another technology, there's always another adaptation," Cuomo said.

According to Israeli defense officials, they have discovered 30 tunnels in just the last 18 months.

"It's amazing what went into the tunnels, the whole network of tunnels, how much money went into the tunnels that could have been spent above ground building hospitals, schools, housing," Silver said.

The delegation also had an opportunity to meet with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres while they greeted soldiers stationed along the Gaza border.

"The support from the American people and from the people of New York, and the support from all the other people that really love Israel and know that we have no intention to get into any war, no matter where," said Israeli soldier Daniel Elbo.

"Your enemy at the end of the day is our enemy because they're fighting you for what you represent, and you represent democracy," Cuomo said.

This was Cuomo's first international trip as governor, and it was an opportunity to showcase his knowledge of issues beyond the state.

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