Israeli citizens living adjacent to the Gaza Strip live in constant fear that Hamas terrorists will emerge from the ground via undetected terror tunnels.
By: Nikki Guttman and Gadi Golan / Israel Hayom / Exclusive to JNS
IDF demolished a Hamas tunnel the terrorist organization had intended to connect to an older, partially destroyed tunnel near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom on Sunday.
Residents of the Gaza border-adjacent communities told Israel Hayom that while they have gotten used to the security situation, cellular disruptions in recent weeks—the result of Egypt jamming communication frequencies to combat Sinai insurgents—have made them ever more anxious that they will be unable to contact loved ones in the event of a security breach.
Amit Caspi from Kibbutz Kerem Shalom told Israel Hayom, “We have unfortunately already gotten used [to this]. On one hand, it is worrying that there are tunnels, but on the other hand, it is good they [the IDF] are finding them.” He said there was disappointment among local residents that “the other side continues with its tunnel excavations instead of focusing on the real aspects of life.”
Daniel Matari, also of Kerem Shalom, said he was afraid of a nightmare scenario in which one of the terror tunnels is not discovered, and local residents are made to pay the price.
“Every time there is a tunnel directed at the country, there is the fear, ‘What will be on the day they miss a tunnel?’ If they have the option to carry out a mega-attack and they have an active tunnel, it won’t be two terrorists, but 30 or 40 terrorists that will come with grenades and LAW missiles,” he said.
Matari told Israel Hayom that he worries about the safety of his 4-year-old daughter, who goes to school at nearby Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, especially in light of the reception problems in the area and the difficulty residents have in communicating regularly via cellphone.
“I am always worried,” he said. “It is enough for there to be one Code Red, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s problematic when there is no reception.”
Israel’s Constant Silent War Against Hamas
Hamas has built a sophisticated network of terror tunnels in the Gaza Strip and running into Israel, used for storing weapons, smuggling and terrorist infiltrations into Israel.
During the 2014 summer war with Israel, Hamas terrorists on several occasions made their way into Israel through terror tunnels, although they did not manage to reach civilian areas.
Israel destroyed 32 tunnels during that conflict and has since made neutralizing the tunnel threat a top priority, while exposing several more since then.
Israel is building an underground barrier surrounding the Gaza Strip, an obstacle that will eventually eliminate any possibility of digging tunnels from Gaza into Israel. Israel has also developed new technology, which coupled with intelligence, enables the IDF to detect and destroy existing tunnels. The IDF has successfully demolished several such tunnels in recent months.
United with Israel Staff contributed to this report.
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