“He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me, who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me.” (2 Samuel 22:48–49)
The fourth Hamas tunnel in two weeks collapsed Monday night, bringing the official death toll of Palestinian terror tunnel workers to 10.
Monday night, one worker died while repairing a damaged tunnel near the Gaza/Egypt border. Last Wednesday evening, in the Zeitoun area of the Gaza Strip, a Hamas terror tunnel also collapsed, but Hamas has not allowed any details to be released.
Hamas confirmed that two died and eight are missing in the tunnel failure Tuesday night of last week. The previous week’s collapse left seven Hamas men dead, according to Hamas news reports. (Arutz 7)
The terror tunnels were designed to inflict terror in Israel and were being used to smuggle arms to ISIS insurgents in the Sinai Peninsula, according to military wing of Hamas in Gaza, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigade.
Mosques across Gaza mourned those killed working on terror tunnels to attack Israel, calling them “Martyrs of the Preparation.”
In a sermon delivered on Al-Aqsa TV on January 29, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh underscored Gaza’s commitment to digging tunnels and upgrading rockets in preparation for attacking Israel.
“There are heroes east of Gaza City, digging the rocks and building tunnels,” said Haniyeh. “And west of Gaza, heroes are testing rockets every morning and every day and it is all preparations.”
“Under the ground and above the ground, in tunnels and above the ground and into the sky, with rockets and in the sea and everywhere, it is the permanent preparation for the sake of Jerusalem and Palestine, and for the sake of the intifada of Jerusalem and the sake of our people,” Haniyeh said. (JPost)
Heavy rains were initially reported by Hamas as the cause, but Ynet revealed that Egypt has been periodically flooding the tunnels with Mediterranean seawater since September, persistently weakening the land surrounding the tunnels.
These tunnels understandably worry Israelis living near Gaza.
“Even though Israel destroyed several tunnels during the 2014 war with Hamas in Gaza, the residents here continue to hear digging sounds, the kind made by massive digging instruments. This says something about the terrorists’ motivation to dig more tunnels for them to use next time,” said a resident of a town near the Israel-Gaza border to Israel Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, on a visit this year.
“We’re tired of constantly worrying about terrorist infiltrations to the communities through the tunnels,” the resident told Kahlon. (Israel HaYom)
“The biggest problem is detecting a tunnel when it is already ready, and it [looks like] just a hole in the ground,” said Yiftah Shapir, an analyst at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies. (Algemeiner)
A solution is on the way.
Israel and the United States have agreed to invest $120 million each over the next three years to develop a defense system that will find tunnels by isolating underground construction and other man-made noises from natural ones.
Such a system will also help the US detect illegal immigrants and drug runners from Mexico who use similar tunnels. (Algemeiner)
Israeli companies Elbit Systems and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems (RADS) are participants in the system’s development. RADS designed the Iron Dome that protected Israel against short-range mortar, rockets, and artillery during the 2014 Gaza war.
In response, Gaza official Mahmoud al-Zahar vowed that “Israeli technology will not be able to stop the resistance as long as Hamas exists.” He added, “Even if Israel is able to uncover a tunnel, or two, or 10, they [the tunnels] run deep under Israel, beyond Gaza, into 1948 territory.”