Hamas’s terror tunnels are well-known for their horribly destructive capabilities. However, Hamas is trying to claim otherwise.
Hamas and other terror organizations in Gaza invest millions of dollars and resources in order to construct and operate an intricate network of tunnels leading into Israel. These tunnels are to be used for attacks and kidnappings, as in the case of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and several attacks committed during Operation Protective Edge. Hamas terrorists are consistently using construction materials transferred into the Gaza Strip by Israel for humanitarian aid in order to build these terror tunnels.
World Leaders Shocked
When United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon visited one of the tunnels earlier this month, he “was shocked and alarmed by the underground tunnels. It is not acceptable. No one should live under constant threat or fear of these rockets or the penetrating underground tunnels.”
US Ambassador Dan Shapiro had seen one that led directly to a kibbutz in October 2013. What he saw deeply disturbed him.
“Even though I have seen the photos of the tunnel in the papers, the truth is I was shocked by what I saw. It is clear that this tunnel has only one purpose: to carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers,” Shapiro said in Hebrew. “There is no justification for this in our eyes. In no way will the U.S. allow this. The U.S.fully condemns these acts by terror groups,” he declared.
“The U.S. condemns terrorist tunnels, supports Israel’s right and ability to self-defense and is focused on advancing negotiations for peace,” Shapiro tweeted following the tour.
However, Hamas is trying to paint a different picture. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Hamas’s political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal denied that the network of underground tunnels was meant for terror. He further alleged that the IDF had used these tunnels as an excuse to launch an attack against Gaza during the summer.
“Please note when we used these tunnels. We used them when Israel waged war against us. So the tunnels may have been outwardly called offensive tunnels, but in actual fact, they are defensive ones. If those were offensive tunnels, Hamas would have used them before the war. But, when Israel carried out its aggression against us, we used the tunnels to infiltrate behind the back lines of the Israeli army, which is waging war on Gaza,” Mashaal told Vanity Fair.
IDF Reveals Murderous Hamas Plot
The IDF worked rigorously throughout the operation in Gaza to expose as many tunnels as possible and to destroy them. An intelligence report issued by the IDF reveals why.
The IDF exposed a Hamas plot to attack dozens of Israeli civilian targets within Israel, inflicting as many casualties as possible. They were to arrive at their targets through these allegedly “defensive tunnels.”
The terror organization aimed to seize kibbutzim and other communities while killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians. In total, thousands of Hamas terrorists would have been swarming across Israel, wearing IDF uniforms, which would have further complicated an Israeli response. Reports indicate that Hezbollah may have planned to join the attack as well, opening another front in the north.
The IDF stressed that Operation Protective Edge prevented a catastrophic event on an apocalyptic magnitude, which would have “brought the State of Israel to its knees.” The destruction of these tunnels takes away from Hamas a strategic weapon.
Investing in Terror Instead of the Future
Writing for the Gatestone Institute, Lawrence Franklin says that the construction of network of tunnels used hundreds of tons of concrete that might otherwise have been used by the Palestinian leadership for building homes, shopping malls, parks, schools, hospitals and libraries.
Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel
WATCH: UN SG Ban’s tour of a Hamas terror tunnel on the border with the Gaza Strip: