IDF Commander Fighting to Destroy Hamas Tunnels

Hamas's "military wing," the Al-Qassam Brigades, announced on Saturday morning that a terrorist in the organization was killed in Gaza's Beit Lahiya.

The announcement revealed that the terrorist died when the tunnel he was working to dig collapsed.

Hamas has been actively rebuilding its terror tunnel infrastructure meant to facilitate attacks from within Israeli territory, with the digging said to be taking place six days a week with three shifts each day on roughly 30 tunnels – around the same number as was destroyed in last summer's war, but in different routes.

Reportedly over 1,000 diggers as well as heavy machinery are being employed by Hamas to construct the tunnels; the current Israeli security estimation is that the tunnels lead up to Israeli territory, and Hamas will extend them beyond when it feels the time is right to strike.

"For a long time we hear that they're continuing to repair and dig, and today that (assessment) was strengthened further," Ilana Amar, a resident of Nativ HaAsara near Gaza told Channel 10.

"The minute (Operation) Protective Edge didn't end with disarmament in return for rehabilitation, there's no doubt that 50% of the population of the Gaza Strip is dealing with rearming and tunnels," said MK Chaim Yelin (Yesh Atid), former head of the Eshkol Regional Council just outside Gaza.

Trying to stop the tunnels

Channel 10 reported that IDF Southern Commander Sami Turgeman is trying to advance a process that would allow him to destroy every Gazan tunnel directed towards Israel, even if it would require sending ground forces into Gaza and removing them after destroying the tunnel.

Senior IDF officials are reportedly opposing the proposal, claiming that any ground entry to Gaza would bring a new war to the region that they apparently wish to postpone.

Turgeman warned in an interview last month that Hamas is indeed rebuilding the attack tunnels, indicating their clear intentions to launch another war when they are better prepared to do so.

Even as Hamas has been racing to rebuild its terror tunnels, Israel continues to allow cement and building materials into Gaza, with 14,000 tons of building materials – the largest single shipment since last summer's war – allowed in last Wednesday.

That transfer came despite direct reports showing how Hamas is siphoning those materials for use in terror tunnel construction, as opposed to rebuilding buildings damaged in the last round of fighting which was the third terror war launched by Hamas against Israel.

It was cleared for publication last Wednesday that Hamas had planned to use its tunnels for a massive abduction operation during the most recent fighting.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/194880

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