Hamas terrorists inside terror tunnel (file)
Hamas terrorists inside terror tunnel (file) Reuters

A member of the Al-Qassam Brigades, the "armed wing" of the Hamas terrorist organization, died Friday when an attack tunnel he was in collapsed in Gaza near the Israeli border, Hamas and medical sources said.

The sources did not say why the tunnel, located in eastern Shejaiya in northern Gaza, collapsed, according to AFP.

A statement from the Al-Qassam Brigades said a member was killed in the collapse of "a resistance tunnel." A spokesperson for the Gaza health ministry said two others were "moderately injured" in the tunnel collapse.

Giving deeper insight into the nature of the incident, a Palestinian Arab source said the collapse occurred while terrorists were conducting "resistance-related activities," a possible reference to weapon transfers or attack tunnel reconstruction.

Last month the IDF finally promised to investigate Hamas reconstruction of attack tunnels, after months of reports showing how the terrorist organization has been siphoning from the massive influx of construction materials to rebuild the tunnels leading in to Israel.

Reportedly over 1,000 diggers as well as heavy machinery are being employed by Hamas to construct the tunnels; the Israeli security estimation is that the tunnels lead up to Israeli territory, and Hamas will extend them beyond when it feels the time is right to strike.

IDF Southern Commander Sami Turgeman last month reportedly was trying to advance a process that would allow him to destroy every Gazan tunnel directed towards Israel, even if it would require sending ground forces into Gaza and removing them after destroying the tunnel.

However, senior IDF officials were said to be opposing the proposal, claiming that any ground entry to Gaza would bring a new war to the region that they wish to postpone.

Turgeman warned in an interview in April that Hamas is indeed rebuilding the attack tunnels, indicating their clear intentions to launch another war when they are better prepared to do so.

In a separate incident in Gaza on Friday, Hamas claimed Israeli tanks had carried out a limited incursion into Gaza near Shejaiya, without linking the events.

The IDF said it was checking the reports.