Daily Israel Report

Chief of Staff: Terror Tunnels a Real Threat

Chief of Staff says terror tunnels are a 'serious threat,' promises action.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 11/3/2013, 3:21 PM

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz made a trip to Soroka hospital on Sunday morning to visit several soldiers who were wounded last week when a tunnel built by Gaza terrorists blew up as they tried to demolish it.

Following his visit, Gantz said, “The tunnels threat is a serious threat, and we will keep taking action whenever necessary.”

“There are still relevant threats within the Gaza strip, and we continue to deal with them and will continue to deal with them,” he continued.

“We will, of course, prepare everything we need in case there is a need for a broader response,” he said, hinting at a larger-scale IDF operation in the area.

Earlier the wounded soldiers were visited by Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon. Following his visit Yaalon, too, expressed concern.

“The tunnels phenomenon worries us,” he admitted. “Hamas sees it as a way to lay the groundwork for attacks against us.”

“We see Hamas as responsible, both as the ruling power in Gaza and as the one digging the tunnels,” he declared.

Hamas has used tunnels to Israel as a terror tactic on several occasions, most notably in a 2006 attack that killed two IDF soldiers and allowed terrorists to kidnap IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive in Gaza for more than five years.

The terrorist group has admitted to being behind the latest terror tunnel, and has threatened to build “thousands more.”

The terrorist group also operates a system of tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border. The tunnels have become major trade routes, allowing an estimated 230 million dollars of goods to enter Gaza each month without passing by Egyptian or Israeli officials on the borders.

Recently the tunnels have also been used by Gaza terrorists streaming into Sinai to fight the Egyptian army.