TEL AVIV – Israel is in possession of information indicating that Hamas operatives are able to travel throughout the the Gaza Strip underground utilizing the terror group’s freshly constructed extensive subterranean tunneling system.
The Times of Israel reported:
Information about the tunnel system came from the testimony of a 17-year-old Hamas member who was picked up by Israeli troops last month after he illegally crossed into Israel from Gaza, the Shin Bet security service said.
The underage operative “belonged to the Beit Lahiya Battalion” in the northern Gaza Strip and “most of his activity was in the field of tunnels,” the security agency said in a statement.
Through his testimony, Israel learned “Hamas is working to construct tunnels that are linked to combat tunnels throughout the Gaza Strip,” the Shin Bet said.
“Hamas has dug an extensive network for moving fighters around the Strip exclusively underground. This network of tunnels includes rest quarters for use by elite units in time of emergency,” the service said.
The information about Hamas’s construction of a sophisticated underground tunnel network that snakes beneath much of the Gaza Strip was first reported by Breitbart Jerusalem in November.
At the time, Breitbart Jerusalem further reported the 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 operation, Hamas enlisted hundreds of terrorists in order to construct an even larger tunnel network.
The Hamas source claimed that the terrorist group has succeeded in restoring much of its former tunnel system.
He said the next stage involves linking tunnels in north Gaza with those under Gaza City and the south.
The source conceded that this requires at least two more years of work.
While Hamas’ claims could not be immediately corroborated, Jordanian and Israeli security sources said there is evidence that Hamas is working tirelessly to build a new networks of tunnels.
Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces told Breitbart Jerusalem at the time:
“The IDF is aware of the fact that Hamas has been working to rebuild its sophisticated tunnel network within the Gaza Strip.
“The IDF remains prepared and ready to defend Israel’s borders and its civilians, especially those living in close proximity to the Gaza Strip, from any potential threat should it arise.”
Abu Khaled, a spokesperson for Hamas’ so-called military wing, had no comment on the Breitbart Jerusalem report.
In recent months, there have been multiple reports of Hamas tunnels collapsing while the terrorist group was reportedly working to refurbish their underground system.
In April and May, the IDF discovered and destroyed two Hamas terror tunnels coming into Israeli territory.
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.