The control Hamas exercises over the Gaza Strip was evidenced as Israel once again destroyed a terror tunnel that extended from the Hamas-ruled territory into Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.
The IDF reported that it tracked progress of the tunnel even before it extended into Israeli territory utilizing “unique tools combined with advanced technology, intelligence and operational capabilities.” At the end of October the IDF destroyed a tunnel built by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, killing twelve terrorists from both PIJ and Hamas.
“Locating two terrorist tunnels in recent weeks is an operational success based on advanced technology, attesting to a rise in the level of the tools developed and used by the IDF,” IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said, adding that “the tunnel project in the Gaza Strip has suffered a heavy blow.”
The tunnel, according to the army, was not destroyed with explosives as past tunnels had been. However, Israel’s ability to destroy the tunnels once detected meant that “these tunnels will be a death trap to anyone inside,” Manelis said.
A senior IDF official told Israel’s Channel 2 in February that Hamas had rebuilt its tunnel infrastructure and rocket arsenal to the levels it maintained before its 2014 war against Israel. Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh pointed out last year that Hamas has prioritized building up its terror infrastructure over rebuilding Gazan homes, writing that “the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas spends some $40 million of its $100 million military budget on tunnel construction, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources. An Israeli official estimated in July of last year that Hamas digs six miles of tunnels every month.
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 in May 2016 that Hamas is investing “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.”
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