In recent years, the Gaza Strip has seen a boom in construction
projects. However these projects are largely invisible to the naked eye
since most of them can only be found underground.
tunnel industry used to be a well-known conduit for smuggling weapons,
goods, funds and even terrorists into the Gaza Strip, mostly from the
Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. But the smuggling tunnels have been largely
closed by Egypt. Now Hamas and the other terror organizations in Gaza
are using their tunneling know-how and resources for a far more sinister
purpose: terrorist attacks on Israeli territory.
are dug from a site hidden within the Gaza Strip. They then make their
way underground for hundreds of meters (and sometimes a few kilometers/a
mile) until they reach their targets deep inside Israeli territory.
terrorists infiltrate Israel through tunnels in order to stage deadly
attacks aimed at killing and kidnapping Israelis. Early this morning (17
July), 13 heavily armed Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel near
Sufa, a kibbutz in southern Israel. Fortunately, they were discovered by
the IDF before they could enter the village and carry out a massacre.
Just 10 days ago (7 July), another disaster was averted when a large
tunnel, which Hamas was planning on using to carry out a major terrorist
attack in Israel, blew up.
Hamas utilized this method as early
as 2006. The terrorist organization used a cross-border tunnel to attack
Israel, killing two IDF soldiers and kidnapping a third, Gilad Shalit,
who was held by Hamas for five years.
Hamas also uses tunnels to
carry out attacks by transforming them into giant landmines. This
method consists of digging a tunnel which ends underneath a civilian
site, such as a kibbutz or village, or a military post. Explosives are
crammed into the tunnel, and detonated at will. This type of tunnel was
detonated near the Gaza border fence in November 2012.
twisted set of priorities, Hamas invests huge funds in the construction
of this underground network of tunnels and bunkers, instead of providing
for the needs of the population in Gaza.
In October 2013, the
IDF discovered the opening of a tunnel near the Israeli community of Ein
Hashlosha. The tunnel, which stretched into Israel from the city of
Khan Yunis in Gaza, was approximately 1.7 kilometers (approximately 1
mile) long and 18 meters (59 feet) deep, and was equipped with
electricity and phone lines. It took Hamas more than a year to complete
and required significant engineering know-how, manpower and supplies.
tunnels are literal money pits: a malevolent underground city built for
the sole purpose of terrorism, emptying the already depleted coffers of
the people of Gaza.
The tunnels also require a great deal of
tangible resources. A single tunnel can use up to 500 tons of concrete
and cement. Israel estimates that Hamas and the other organizations in
Gaza have prepared dozens of terror tunnels.
The concrete used
in these tunnels could have build bomb shelters for great numbers of
Palestinian civilians. Instead, Hamas prefers that the civilians remain
aboveground and unprotected. It is clear where Hamas' priorities lay:
killing and kidnapping Israelis is far, far more important to this
terrorist organization than protecting its own civilians.