Hamas Digging Terror Tunnels into Gaza Belt Again?

Multiple residents say they are living on adrenaline after IDF repeatedly denies finding evidence of tunnels despite digging sounds.

Tova Dvorin,

Hamas terrorists inside Gaza "terror tunnel"
Hamas terrorists inside Gaza "terror tunnel"
Reuters

Seven months after Operation Protective Edge in Gaza ended, Hamas may have already returned to digging terror tunnels - despite the IDF's insistence that all is quiet. 

Gaza Belt residents told Channel 2 Monday that they had heard and felt digging beneath their feet, and that they no longer trust the IDF's public statements on the security situation in the region. 

"Today I sat on my living room couch, and I felt everything shake under me," one resident on a Gaza Belt-area kibbutz told the daily.

Even after alerting the IDF, she noted that "I don't know whether to actually trust the IDF or not on whether there's terror tunnel digging here. The uncertainty is terrible."  

Over 30 terror tunnels from Gaza into Israel were uncovered, and destroyed, during the course of the summer war.

But many Gaza Belt residents indicated that they know another war, with more tunnels, is on the way. 

"I've been waiting for it, for them to pop out of the ground," another resident told Channel 2, in frustration. "We're living here on a lot of adrenaline and with a lot of vigilance."

The resident added that the entire kibbutz was on alert "every time a dog passes through the bushes [and makes a noise]." 

"We know that everything is possible," he added. 

Gaza Division Commander Itay Virov visited the Gaza Belt last week to reassure area residents that the army is doing everything possible to prevent Hamas from re-entering Israel. A special IDF unit was also sent to sites of complaints over digging noises and concluded that they found no indication of terror tunnel digging. 

"The IDF performs a variety of routine security measures and defense forces in the region are prepared," an IDF spokesperson responded to the report. "Complaints area residents make to the IDF are investigated seriously by special forces." 

History of ignoring complaints?

Gaza area residents' speculation stems from multiple incidents of the IDF whistling past the terror tunnel graveyard. 

In January, residents along the Lebanon-Israel border stated that they would fund their own investigation team to examine the possibility of Hezbollah digging terror tunnels into Israel, after the IDF reportedly denied repeatedly that there was any evidence of digging. 

When asked about the digging noises earlier this year, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) claimed "no tunnels have been located on the northern border. Noises that were heard beneath a home turned out to be a neighbor's horse stomping with its hooves."

But a video posted on YouTube shortly thereafter, said to have been filmed at night in Shtula on the border with Lebanon, had many seriously doubting Ya'alon's claims. 

Alarm has also been raised after the IDF and Defense Ministry cut guard duty near northern border communities - just one year after a similar move along the Gaza Belt saw an escalation in terror and, eventually, war. 

Concerns were raised as well by geologist and Col. (res.) Yossi Langotsky, who told Arutz Sheva in December that he had tried to warn the security establishment about the tunnel threat from Gaza for nine years, but that his warnings fell on deaf ears.

"The facts were known," he said, regarding terror tunnels in the Gaza belt. "The system went to sleep for a few years and did not do what needed to be done."




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