The fact that Hamas risked digging a terror tunnel into Israel – as the IDF announced on Monday – shows that Gaza’s Islamist leaders are preparing for the possibility of war with the Jewish state.
Hamas has recently been weakened by successful Egyptian military actions to take out smuggling tunnels along the Egypt-Gaza border. It has not yet fully recovered from the massive damage inflicted by the IDF on the Islamic group’s militant infrastructure during the 2014 Israel-Gaza War. Hamas most likely does not want a war with Israel in the near future, fearing an Israeli military campaign can threaten its rule in Gaza.
However, there is a paranoid wing within the Hamas leadership that believes Israel will launch a confrontation in Gaza at some point to further minimize Hamas’s political and militant positions. And so Hamas seems to be prepping all fronts for a war that could break out tomorrow, next week, next month or next year.
As part of this readiness campaign, Hamas apparently took the daring move to dig a tunnel into Israel.
Haaretz reported on Monday:
The Israeli military has uncovered a Hamas tunnel that crosses from Gaza into Israeli territory. This is the first such tunnel to be discovered since the 2014 Gaza war.
According to information released for publication on Monday, the tunnel was found 10 days ago during an Israel Defense Forces operation. Since its discovery, the military has destroyed the tunnel’s openings on both sides of the border fence. According to a senior defense official, tunnel openings were found in Israeli territory between the border fence and military bases and towns.
Ynet news further reported:
According to the security establishment’s estimates, the tunnel is designated for a strategic attack by dozens of Hamas fighters of their elite unit – “Nukhba.”
… Hamas’s excavation of this tunnel appears to be have been done relatively fast compared to those dug in the years prior to Operation Protective Edge, pointing to their having learned lessons and invested an unprecedented amount of money – in the millions of shekels – in the project. Even the depth of the tunnel, about 30 meters, is considered unusual. Nevertheless, in other respects, it is the same type of tunnel discovered before and during Operation Protective Edge – reinforced walls, digging pathways, branches and inner depth.
The IDF did not discover weapons inside the tunnel and Hamas reportedly realized its tunnel was discovered at about the same time that the IDF found the tunnel opening in Israeli territory. Yet Hamas did not immediately use the tunnel to carry out an attack before the IDF could quickly react, further indicating that the tunnel is part Hamas’s preparations for a future battle and was not meant for an imminent terrorist attack.
This is not Hamas’s only tunnel preparations.
Breitbart Jerusalem first reported last November that Hamas is in the process of building a sophisticated network of tunnels beneath the Gaza Strip, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the issue.
The underground tunnel infrastructure mirrors the network built by Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Iran-sponsored militia is known to have dug a vast underground tunnel complex replete with war rooms, internal communication lines, ventilation systems, and even missile silos.
Israel destroyed a significant portion of Hamas’ previous tunnel system during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.
One source, a member of Hamas’ “military wing,” told Breitbart Jerusalem in November that following the 2015 operation, Hamas enlisted hundreds of terrorists in order to construct an even larger tunnel network.
On Monday, Ynet quoted a senior Southern Command official confirming Breitbart Jerusalem’s information from five months ago.
The official stated:
Hamas employs 800 tunnel diggers who enjoy high salaries compared to other activists in the organization, and the organization’s Chief of Staff Mohammed Deif views the tunnels as a flagship project highlighting the strengthening of the military wing.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.