Hamas’s armed wing is reconstructing terror tunnels damaged by Israel during Operation Protective Edge. The terror group’s newspaper reported on Sunday that Hamas is carrying out the work under the protection of the humanitarian ceasefire currently in place.
A reporter from Al-Resalah interviewed a team of Al-Qassam tunnel diggers working along the border between Gaza and Israel. While not allowed to enter the tunnel for fear that it would collapse, the writer described the diggers like “bees in a hive.”
The diggers explained that they were motivated to rebuild the attack tunnels because “every inch they dig helps spill the blood of an Israeli soldier or kidnap one.”
“We thank God for making us soldiers specializing in tunnel digging,” one Hamas operative told the newspaper. “True, the work is difficult, but we remember our reward with God and it becomes easier.”
One of the terrorists said that at one point he and the other diggers spent 12 days in the tunnel. On the wall of the tunnel they wrote: “We wish to either be martyred underground or win above-ground.”
Abu Khaled, the commander of the Hamas tunnel team, told Al-Resalah that while construction of the tunnel began several years ago, it was halted various times “due to the difficult security situation.”
The commander confirmed that the tunnel was bombed by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge but was reconstructed “during one of the humanitarian ceasefires reached during the war.”
On July 17, Israel launched a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip, nine days into Operation Protective Edge. One of the main missions of the military’s operation was to destroy the vast and complex network of terror tunnels built by Hamas and other Gaza- based terror organization that reached into Israel.
The tunnels were dug with the express purpose of carrying out cross border attacks and kidnapping Israeli soldiers. One of the more famous stories of Hamas carrying out an attack using terror tunnels is the kidnapping of IDF solider Gilad Schalit.
Over the course of the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas, terrorists attempted to enter Israel via tunnels to carry out attacks. Most were thwarted but some were successful.
At the war’s end, the IDF said that it destroyed 31 known terror tunnels. However, senior military officers admitted that “one or two” tunnels could have remained unknown.
This is not the first report proving that Hamas and other terror groups are preparing for another offensive against Israel. In September, the Islamic Jihad terror group proudly showed off to an Al-Jazeera journalist their rebuilding efforts of terror tunnels in Gaza.
Earlier in October, Hamas spokesman Mushir Al-Masri told Al-Risala that despite Israel’s best efforts, “the enemy did not succeed in stopping the rocket fire, and also didn’t succeed in destroying the military tunnels.”
Regardless of Hamas confirming that it is rebuilding tunnels which were built using humanitarian construction material, Israel began transporting construction supplies into Gaza last Tuesday as part of a “humanitarian gesture.”
Some 600 tons of cement, 10 truckloads of steel and 50 truckloads of aggregate material have already been sent to Hamas-controlled Gaza. On Sunday, international leaders pledged $5.4 billion towards the reconstruction of Gaza.