The IDF has withdrawn many of its troops from Gaza, saying that their main mission – the destruction of Hamas terror tunnels – was completed. But residents of the Gaza border area towns and villages near where the openings of many of the tunnels were found are not convinced. As a result, many of the kibbutz and moshav communities in the Gaza border area are all but abandoned.
The IDF has been trying to convince residents of these communities that it is now safe to come home, and on Sunday, IDF Southern Command head Sami Tourgeman to speak to residents. In his comments, Tourgeman promised that the IDF was now on top of the tunnel issue, and that if any new ones were discovered, the IDF would immediately destroy it, even if it meant invading Gaza again.
“There is going to be a massive buildup of forces in the area, both of personnel and material,” Tourgeman said. “If any more tunnels are found, we will directly strike at Gaza with ground forces.”
Many residents have said that they do not plan on returning to border communities, because of recent statements by the government that there could be no guarantee that Hamas will not use tunnels to carry out terror attacks. With that, the IDF said Sunday that it believed that it had already destroyed, or was about to destroy, all the tunnels that lead into Israel.