A young Hamas operative has given Israel’s internal security agency valuable information about the Iran-backed terrorist group’s efforts to build tunnels into Israel after his arrest last month.
The teenager provided “extensive information on Hamas activities to dig tunnels that are to be used for Hamas fighters to infiltrate Israeli areas,” the Shin Bet said Tuesday. It added that the teen, whose name was withheld due to his age, is one of a “succession of [Hamas] operatives” who provided Israel with intelligence on Hamas’ network of attack tunnels.
Last week Israel announced the arrest of Mahmoud Atawnah, a Hamas tunnel expert who, like the teen, was reported to have been detained in early April.
Since the teen was arrested prior to the discovery of two terror tunnels in recent weeks, it isn’t clear what “impact [Israel’s] still-secret but widely discussed tunnel detection technology has had on Hamas’s burrowing plans,” The Times of Israel observed.
The Shin Bet said that the new tunnel intelligence included information on Hamas boobytraps and how tunnel diggers are made to shower and change clothes after work to hide their activities.
The teen also revealed that Hamas has been training its operatives in offensive tactics including “infiltration, entering buildings, [and] detonating explosives.”
For four days last week, Hamas fired mortars at Israeli troops working on detecting terror tunnels that extend into Israel. “Against this terror stands the IDF and various security agencies who are responding decisively to the shooting from the Strip – shooting that, if it continues, will lead to a more severe response for Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Strip, until they understand it’s not wise to test us,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned on Monday.
Gen. 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 last week that the discovery of the tunnels was a sign that Hamas was preparing for another war against Israel. He added that the tunnel digging means that “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.”
Israel went to war with Hamas in the summer of 2014 in order to stop the terrorist group from firing rockets at civilians and eliminate the threat posed by its tunnels. Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, two years before Hamas took over the territory after a civil war with Fatah. According to the IDF, Palestinian terror groups have launched over 11,000 rockets at Israel since it withdrew from Gaza in 2005, with over five million Israeli civilians living under threat of rocket fire.
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