TEL AVIV – Hamas will pay a heavy price if war breaks out again, the GOC Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir, warned after the discovery of an attack tunnel was announced on Monday.
“Hamas is attempting to restore its military capabilities – capabilities which were hit hard during the last operation – and is also preparing for war. However, the organization is aware of the heavy price it will pay if war breaks out again,” Zamir told Ynet news.
“The IDF is deployed to the area, trained for any scenario, and we will work according to situational reports to defend the residents of the south,” the general added, noting that the IDF was working with the most advanced equipment to locate additional tunnels.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot said on Monday evening that “the IDF puts the tunnel challenge at the top of its priorities and continues investing time and resources to remove the threat.”
Another high ranking IDF officer said that the “IDF has enough firepower” for all scenarios and that the tunnel was a clear “violation of Israeli sovereignty.”
Hamas meanwhile, boasted that the newly discovered tunnel was “nothing more than a drop in the ocean of what the resistance has prepared to defend the people and liberate our holy sites, land, and prisoners.”
However, a Hamas official told Breitbart Jerusalem that even though the terror group is preparing to fight “Israeli aggression,” the tunnel was an old one and not part of their current plans.
Even though the GOC Southern Command maintains that, since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, Israelis living near the border with Gaza have experienced the quietest period of the past decade, those residents are saying that much more needs to be done to bolster security.
Adi Hamawi, a resident of Kibbutz Nirim near the border with Gaza, said that he and his neighbors have been acutely aware of the tunnels for some time now.
“The Israeli public was a little bit more surprised [than us] because they learned something new, but here, nothing has really changed since Protective Edge – neither our sense of security nor our actual security. The tunnels were being dug during and even after the last war. This only shows what we’ve been living with every day,” Hamawi told Ynet.
Nonetheless, Hamawi said, “We don’t live in fear that one day people will emerge out of the tunnel. We can’t live in fear every day; we have to continue and enjoy the good this area of the country brings. However, it’s important that the government put the problems in the Gaza border area on the table, deal with it once and for all and not to leave the situation as it is.”
“This is what happened after Pillar of Defense and Protective Edge,” he continued. “Nothing has changed on the ground.”