Tunnel warfare was a key to Hamas surviving the 2014 Gaza War.
Hamas used an extensive tunnel system to hide under civilian structures, to move terrorists, and to launch raids into Israel.
Tunnel entrances usually were within civilian homes in Gaza:
Wolf Blitzer took a tour of some of the tunnels during 2014, as Israel captured and destroyed much of the tunnel network:
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also took a tour:
After the end of hostilities, Hamas has diverted international aid and cement deliveries towards reconstructing the tunnels. People may be homeless, but Hamas prioritizes tunnel and rocket construction.
This tweet from 2014 still applies to Hamas’s priorities of putting tunnel building ahead of civilian development:
— Jackson Diehl (@JacksonDiehl) July 21, 2014
But a funny thing happened on the way to the tunnel construction — the tunnels are collapsing on Hamas diggers and terrorists. The Times of Israel reports on the latest such incident:
At least three Hamas fighters were injured and five were missing after a tunnel collapsed east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday evening.
A local Palestinian news site, however, reported that seven members of Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, were hurt, one seriously and the rest moderately, after the terror tunnel caved in.
The collapsed tunnel was the eleventh reported incident of its kind since the beginning of the year….
Earlier this week, a tunnel collapse in Gaza killed a commander with Hamas’s military wing on Monday….
The collapse came days after another tunnel collapse near Rafah killed two people. Since January 10 tunnels have caved in and 14 people have been killed, according to Hamas figures….
Jerusalem says it is working on a secret technological solution to the problem. When asked if Israeli forces were causing the tunnel collapses earlier this year, an IDF commander would only say “God knows.”
This video is from late January 2016:
There has been plenty of speculation that Israel has some secret way of collapsing the tunnels, and it has stoked fear within Hamas ranks, the Jerusalem Post reported earlier this month:
Hamas operatives are afraid to enter underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip fearing they will collapse, The Jerusalem Post has learned from Palestinian sources….
Official reports, both in Israel and Gaza, describe collapses caused by recent storms and heavy rains. However, among Hamas and others, there are many who believe Israel is responsible.
Hamas operatives have seen Israeli activities near the border fence against tunnels and fear they are connected to the tunnel collapses. Some of the activists have even spoken of the methods Israel is supposedly using to cause the collapses.
One operative claimed Israel is using liquid explosives, while another operative expressed fears of Israel’s ability to cause localized earthquakes, which could also collapse the tunnels.
Hamas has mentioned the IDF’s elite combat engineering corps unit, which has special anti-tunnel measures, and the Oketz canine unit, which sends trained dogs into the tunnels.
Hamas can build all the tunnels it wants, but the thing it has no interest in doing is building a nation, and that’s the self-inflicted tragedy of the Arabs of the former British Mandate of Palestine, as I wrote in late July 2014, One People built tunnels, the other a nation:
Just think what could have been.
Israel left Gaza in 2005. The vast international aid that flowed to Gaza could have been used to build the foundation of a nation.
Instead it was put to building tunnels and rocket infrastructure.
Rather than forging economic ties with the world, it forged military ties with Iran and Hezbollah to achieve the goal of the Hamas charter — the destruction of Israel.
Meanwhile, Israel continued to build a nation, becoming one of the high tech capitals of the world.
That could have been Gaza, where the people obviously have tremendous skills and ingenuity. But it was a choice that was not made.
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