A massive terror tunnel crossing from Gaza into Israel, ending underneath Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, was discovered last week by Israeli security forces:
Security forces last week discovered and neutralized an underground tunnel linking Gaza and Israel, likely intended to be used to instigate a terror attack or kidnapping attempt inside Israel, the IDF said Sunday morning.
The tunnel, which an official said was particularly wide and about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) long, started in Abbasan al-Saghira, a farming village near Khan Yunis, in Gaza, and terminated inside Israel near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, in the western Negev.
On Tuesday, IDF Chief Benny Gantz warned that the next war could be sparked by a “tunnel packed with explosives that reaches a kindergarten.”
The IDF said it took several days to destroy the tunnel and cleared information for publication on Sunday.
Similar tunnels have been used in the past by Gazan terrorists, most notably for an attack in 2006 in which two soldiers were killed and Cpl. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped.
Former national security adviser Giora Eiland, who investigated the Shalit kidnapping, said Gazan tunnels were no less a threat than the territory’s arsenal of homemade weapons.
“They have surprised us in the past with their capability of digging deep and fast,” he told Army Radio.
Ynet reports details about the construction tunnel and how it was discovered:
They were digging for two years. Using hammers, drills and shovels, laying thousands of arches and cement blocks – some Israeli made – with an overall weight of 500 tons, laying electrical and phone cables.
The tunnel exposed last week by the IDF on the border with the Gaza Strip was exceptionally sophisticated and long, measuring approximately 1.7 km.
The tunnel’s average depth is 18 meters, and it reached a maximum depth of 22 meters below ground on the Palestinian side. Inside, the tunnel was high enough to allow a man to walk freely.
The cables which lined the tunnel walls allowed for uninterrupted communications with base, as well as ample lighting with energy-saving halogens.
Bags of construction material, some of it Egyptian-made, show that the construction was not over, and it is unclear how far into Israel the Palestinians planned to go. The builders inscribed the walls with their names.
Soldiers found various edibles and wrappings inside the tunnel, which testify to the long time the builders most likely spent inside: Sausages, chocolate wrappers dated to June, and a dairy-beverage which expired at 22/6/2013.
The tunnel was not exposed by accident, as in previous cases, but due to Gaza Division and Southern Command estimations and ground reports from patrols.
In January 2013, several weeks after Operation Pillar of Defense ended, a large tunnel collapsed in Israeli territory near the border fence as a result of rain-induced floods in the area. IDF troops were called in to the area, and discovered the tunnel was part of a vast system of burrows, thereby estimating that many other tunnels might be stretching from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.
The Gaza Brigade set out to trace any other tunnels Gazans may have built, utilizing intelligence and technological tools.
Some two weeks ago, engineering troops had started scouring a wheat field between Ein Hashlosha and the border fence. Following a thorough exploratory operation of several hundred meters, the troops determined a tunnel was underneath the field.
The site was then isolated and declared a closed military zone. Golani Brigade and Armored Corps secured the compound, as bulldozers exposed the underground routes. Combat soldiers then entered the tunnels to ensure that no explosives were placed in the burrows.
According to [Southern Command Chief Maj. Gen. Sami] Turgeman, “They’re digging many tunnels and it’s a large industry which includes house and land renters, planners, diggers and engineers. It’s a bona-fide terror industry, and all parties, from the laborers to the planners, will pay the price.”
Israel Hayom’s report added:
According to Army Radio, equipment for the abduction and transfer of people were found inside the tunnel, including a transportation mechanism that could quickly ferry away a hostage.
The tunnel is able to hold several hostages and spirit them away quickly into the Gaza Strip, Army Radio reported.
The tunnel is 15 meters (about 50 feet) deep, and has several exits. Its final exit was discovered in farmland near Ein Hashlosha.
The residents of Ein Hashlosha heard digging and alerted the IDF, which then uncovered it.
Eshkol region local council head Haim Yalin said the tunnel entered 400 meters (a quarter mile) into Israel and “looks like the New York subway and was apparently meant for abducting troops.”
Maj. Gen. Turgeman had these pertinent words to say about Hamas and its misrule:
“Hamas invests tens of millions of dollars in digging tunnels instead of investing them in the community, in building houses and schools, businesses and industry.”
“Hamas continues to become stronger and fortify, and has been cynically taking advantage of our good intentions when we let construction materials in the Strip for the private sector, for civilians.”
I wonder how this next item will be reported in the international media. Will it be a case of last-first reporting?
Following the tunnel’s exposure, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Eitan Dangot ordered construction material shipments to the Strip ceased until further notice.
We can make an educated guess at the answer, especially when reading David Gerstman at Legal Insurrection who gives us a list of international media articles over the year urging Israel to ease the Gaza blockade and remarks:
When you read the first few news dispatches below from the past year and a half, keep this photo in mind:
It was not only the IDF who discovered the tunnel. Israeli residents of the area had heard suspicious noises for a while:
Residents at Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha were less than shocked this week when the Israel Defense Forces announced it had discovered a 2½-kilometer (1½-mile) mega terror tunnel connecting the Gaza Strip to Israeli territory just outside the community.
Recently, residents reported hearing bothersome and unusual sounds emanating from the ground, ever closer to the kibbutz gates.
“Now I understand why, over the past few weeks, we were hearing hammering and digging noises at night, deep underground,” a kibbutz resident explained, her two children by her side.
“We alerted security authorities to the noise. Ultimately, our concerns turned out to be true,” she said.
Yaakov Lappin in the Jerusalem Post gives us a virtual walk-through of the terror tunnel, and it is a terrifying prospect to consider:
Journalists and cameramen, accustomed to forming boisterous circles around interviewees in press conferences, were forced to walk in a single file as we descended down Hamas’s most formidable terrorism tunnel discovered by the IDF to date.
Within seconds, the light of day shrank into a ball of light behind us, before vanishing altogether. Flashlights and camera lights broke through darkness to reveal a carefully constructed tunnel, made up of a layer of concrete slabs placed over the dirt. The slabs fitted one another like pieces of a puzzle.
Five hundred tons of concrete went into building this beast, which, had it it been utilized in a terror attack, would have definitely prompted a wide-scale IDF response and probably sparked a war.
The air was dusty, but surprisingly easy to breath, and if needed, Hamas terrorists could pump oxygen into the tunnel from the Gazan entrance.
Walking through this product of the Gazan terrorist industry, I wondered how many other tunnels Hamas is digging at this time under the homes and farms of Gaza and southern Israel.
CNN has a video walk-through of the tunnel (h/t Honest Reporting)
To compound the felony, yet another tunnel was discovered today, this one near Kissufim and full of explosives:
During a Gaza Division operation, an extension of an explosives tunnel that was discovered a year ago was exposed in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip border, in the area of Kissufim.
In a joint operation of IDF ‘s Yahalom Unit (Special Operations Engineering Unit) and the Gaza Division’s engineering forces, the soldiers encountered barrels containing explosives that were hidden in the burrow. On Tuesday morning, the engineering forces carried out a controlled detonation of the burrow that was designed to eventually be part of an attack against IDF soldiers.
As noted above, the Israeli government has suspended the import of building materials into Gaza because of this tunnel, although:
Last month Israel permitted delivery of cement and steel for use by the private sector into the Gaza Strip for the first time since 2007, when Israel banned their transfer fearing that Gaza’s Hamas rulers would use construction materials to fortify its positions and build tunnels for terrorist attacks on the Jewish state.
Of course, it’s not only Israel who gets taken for a ride by the corrupt Palestinian rulers. The European Union appears to have been swindled out of nearly €2 billion in aid money to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, amid reports it has been “lost”:
One billion Euros in EU aid funds to the Palestinians has been wasted or “lost” due to corruption – according to a harsh report leveling severe criticisms published by the European Court, the official institution located in Luxembourg. This was reported on Sunday in the British Sunday Times, which added that the report has not yet been published.
According to the report, between 2008 and 2012, Belgium transferred more than €1.95 billion to the West Bank, controlled by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, but Belgium’s impact on the way the money was invested and its use was minimal.
The report noted that the EU investigators visited sites in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza, and noticed “significant deficiencies” in the management of aid funds transferred to the Palestinians. Editors of the report complained that measures were not taken to reduce serious risks such as “corruption or funds not used for purposes for which they were transferred.”
The organization’s spokesman declined to comment.
Hmm. I wonder where that money might have gone to. Down the terror tunnel maybe?
I also wonder whether the European Union is considering slapping sanctions on the Palestinians in the same way as they are sanctioning Israel for its housing construction in Judea and Samaria. It would be hypocritical if they didn’t. After all, Israel is simply constructing housing for Israelis and providing employment for both Israelis and Palestinians.
The Palestinians however seem to be using their aid money solely for destroying Israel (besides lining their own pockets of course). If they would be spend a fraction of the effort and cost that they put into building that mega-tunnel into building homes and schools and industries, what a great country they could have. Until that utopian time, no one should consider granting them a state.