The Israeli military’s discovery of a another Hamas tunnel extending into Israel, the second one discovered in recent weeks, shows that the Iran-backed terror organization is gearing up for “the next round” of war with Israel, a former IDF general said Thursday.
Yossi Kuperwasser, formerly the head of the research division of Israeli military intelligence and later the director-general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, told reporters that the tunnels are part of Hamas’ “ongoing effort to be better prepared to launch a new attack and to fight again against Israel in the time that is considered to be right from their point of view….they definitely invest a lot in making the necessary preparations so that in the next round, when they decide to start it, they will be able to inflict the heaviest damage on Israel, including through those tunnels.” He pointed out that “what drives Hamas is their basic interest…in wiping Israel off the map.”
But he also pointed out that Israel has improved its capabilities to destroy the tunnels. “The fact that we have managed to find two such tunnels within a short period of time means that we’ve been making technical progress in the capabilities of Israel to locate those channels,” he said. “I’m not sure we are already there with the capability to locate each and every one of them, but definitely taking into account the depth of these tunnels, this last one 26 to 28 meters, and the previous one 30 meters underground, this is a clear indication that there is some progress in our capability to confront it. But I think we still have some way to go before we can really say that we have a robust remedy to this problem.”
Kuperwasser, who is now the director of the Project on Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said he did not expect Hamas to escalate its attacks right away, instead concentrating in the short-term on finding new ways to evade Israel’s improved tunnel-detecting capabilities. “With the first tunnel, they could have thought that this is only a matter of luck. This time it’s two, and we all remember the series of problems they have with their tunnel digging in recent months,” he said, alluding to reports that at least twelve Hamas operatives have died building tunnels in the past year. “I don’t think they are going to launch now new escalations,” he added,” “but they will have to find new ways. Our entire experience with Hamas is that whenever they understand one way of action is losing its effectiveness, they will try to develop something else.”
Kuperwasser’s remarks were organized by The Israel Project, which publishes The Tower. His full phone conference is embedded below.
[Photo: Flash90 ]