Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip, has taken to using sophisticated machinery to rapidly build up its tunnel network into Israel, according to sources who told the Times of Israel.
The jihadi group is employing bulldozers and other heavy construction machines to build the tunnels. The Israeli paper notes that large tractors have become openly visible from Israel’s Gaza border towns.
Previous reports have noted that Hamas is taking reconstruction materials that were supposed to go towards rebuilding Gaza infrastructure, and have instead used the cement, wood, and other products–much of which arrived in Gaza as a result of donations from international bodies such as the United Nations and the European Union–to fortify its tunnel infrastructure.
Israeli officials confirmed with the Times of Israel that Hamas was indeed pouring resources into the tunnel projects. They are also mass producing short-range rockets, Israeli officials noted, because they are more effective in getting through Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
In early April, The Telegraph reported that Iran is aggressively providing aid and arms for the Gaza jihadi group, sending tens of millions of dollars to Hamas to shore up its offensive capabilities.
On Thursday, a senior Hamas official said that his group will “choose when to start the next war.” Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas representative, said that Hamas militants are “following developments along the border very closely, and it will be they who decide the zero hour for any future conflict.”
In a large-scale operation carried out by Israeli forces this week, 29 Hamas militants were found in the West Bank and arrested for plotting terror attacks.