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Hamas Rebuilding Terror Tunnels, Not Housing, as Feud with Fatah Continues

Hamas has accelerated the rebuilding of its terror tunnels, which were destroyed last summer during Operation Protective Edge, even as it neglects rebuilding homes that were damaged during its war against Israel, The Times of Israel reported today.

Hamas has begun using heavy machinery and engineering tools to accelerate the excavation of attack tunnels leading from the Gaza Strip under the Israeli border, sources in the Palestinian enclave told the Times of Israel Wednesday. …

The Gaza-based terrorist organization has been using whatever cement it can get its hands on for the construction of the tunnels, and fortifying the walls of its underground structures with wood as well. …

Meanwhile, the physical and economic situation of Gaza’s residents hasn’t changed much. Heavy rains earlier this week left several main streets in the Strip flooded. Temporary housing units for refugees who fled their homes after this past summer’s war between Israel and Hamas were flooded as well. The Rafah border crossing from the Gaza Strip into Egypt remains shut, and the ongoing wage crisis involving Hamas and the Palestinian Authority has not been resolved. The general reconstruction of Gaza continues to be delayed, and the rebuilding of 17,000 houses to replace the those destroyed during Operation Protective Edge has not yet started either.

Today’s report follows a report from Monday that Israel has accused Iran of arming both Hamas and Hezbollah, warning that “Iran is acting in recent days and weeks to prepare and arm Hezbollah for conflict with Israel, on a large scale.”

Last month, Israel allowed 1,000 tons of cement into Gaza, with restrictions to prevent the transfer of the material into hands of terrorists. A few months after last summer’s war, Egyptian authorities estimated that Hamas was spending the equivalent of $140 million annually to rebuild the terror tunnels. It was later reported that Hamas was rebuilding its rocket arsenal as well.

The refusal of the two Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, to cooperate and start rebuilding Gaza prompted analyst Neri Zilber to observe that “Israel, of all the parties involved, has shown the greatest degree of flexibility towards a Gaza Strip still ruled by Hamas.”

[Photo: The New York Times / YouTube ]