TEL AVIV – Three Palestinians were critically wounded and five others declared missing after a terror tunnel collapsed underneath the town of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian press reported on Saturday.
The incident marks the tenth such occurrence in the past two months.
Last Monday, a Hamas terrorist died when a tunnel collapsed on him in Shujaiyeh, in the eastern part of Gaza City.
The Izzadin Kassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, described the collapse as a “work accident” and said the operative was 36-year-old Al-Salam Al-Batniji.
The Jerusalem Post, citing Palestinian sources, reported earlier in the month that Hamas operatives were afraid to enter tunnels in the Gaza Strip for fear they will collapse.
According to the Post, some of the operatives involved in digging the tunnels believe Israel was behind some of the recent tunnel collapses, despite reports that they were caused by heavy rains.
Israeli officials said that many of the collapses were the result of sub-par construction materials, including fiberglass, which are being used as an alternative to the wood and cement that are not readily available due to the blockade of Gaza.
Israel said it is working to resolve the terror tunnel issue with secret technology.
Egypt has also been working to prevent the construction of smuggling tunnels from the Sinai Peninsula by flooding them.
On Thursday, five Palestinians were rescued from a collapsed tunnel leading from the southern Gazan town of Rafah into Egypt. Two Palestinians died when the tunnel fell in.