IDF officer to Gaza: Stop building tunnels

Major General Yoav Mordechai warns Gazans that the terror tunnels are not only collapsing because of "work accidents."

Elad Benari ,

Yoav Mordechai
Yoav Mordechai
Roni Schutzer/Flash 90

Major General Yoav Mordechai, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), on Wednesday warned Palestinian Arabs residing in Gaza to stop assisting Hamas in building new terror tunnels leading into Israel.

In a post on Facebook, which was written in Arabic and translated by the NRG Hebrew-language news website, Mordechai told Gazans that the recent deaths in collapses of tunnels were not only caused by “work accidents”.

"Since the summer of 2014, when Operation Protective Edge in Gaza ended, some 30 Palestinians were killed in activities related to tunneling. Some of them were killed when tunnels collapsed, some in ‘work accidents’, and the rest - God knows from what…” he wrote, according to NRG.

"The tunnels are a thriving industry of death in Gaza, MADE IN HAMAS," continued Mordechai, who then called on the residents of Gaza, "Hamas uses you to advance the interests of the organization. You dig the tunnels for those who do not care about your life, and they become 'tunnels of death'. Anyone who approaches the tunnels, digs or lends a helping hand – is sealing his own fate!"

Hamas has been busily reconstructing its terror tunnel network breaching into Israeli territory and which was targeted by Israel during the counterterror Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

During that time, there have been several incidents in which tunnels collapsed and terrorists were killed. The last such incident occurred last Saturday, when a member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed terror wing, was killed after an underground tunnel collapsed on him.

A senior Israeli security official recently warned that Hamas continues to dig 10 kilometers in tunnels leading into Israel per month.

Mordechai’s post on Wednesday is not the first time that he has hinted there may have been a reason for the collapse of the tunnels.

In February, following the first incidents of tunnel collapses, Mordechai gave an interview to the Ma’an news agency, in which he was asked whether Israel had a hand in the collapse of the tunnels.

Mordechai evaded the question and only answered with, "God knows."