The rumors persist.
Residents in northern Israel remain deeply concerned that terrorists are digging tunnels under the border, preparing for a future attack.
Although the IDF doesn’t discuss it much, the military is not ignoring the problem, and is quietly monitoring activity along the border.
The question is, what’s happening underneath?
Last week (Tuesday, October 14) Syrian Islamist rebels blew up a government military post near Idlib by digging attack tunnels with UN equipment under the rocky terrain, Aljazeera reported.
As happened with Hamas terrorist use of United Nations facilities in Gaza this summer, the United Nations logo is clear seen on equipment used in the attack in a YouTube report posted by Aljazeera on the internet. The rebel group which identifies with Al Qaeda wiped out the army outpost, killing 60 Syrian soldiers and officers. The Arabic-language report showed preparations prior to the attack as well as its aftermath, and said it took 120 days to dig the tunnel.
The geological conditions are nearly identical to those on Israel’s northern border, and the incident made it clear that Hezbollah could – and might – do the same.
This summer, northern Israelis spoke of the possibility that Hezbollah was tunneling as well.
“I live in the house closest to the border, and from my window you can see everything happening on the other side in Lebanon,” said a resident in Zar’it, in August during an interview on Israel’s Channel 2 News Online.
“What I see scares me, and worries me very much. I can see concrete mixers working in secret. I feel, for more than two years now, digging sounds. My entire house moves and shakes, and it’s very disturbing.”
During the IDF’s 50-day counter terror Operation Protective Edge, the commander of the 769th Hiram Brigade addressed the issue in an interview with Channel 2 News, commenting, “The possibility of tunnels [also] disturbs me, along with other options that might exist here. Any reasonable person should put his eyes in his head and look south towards Gaza and say that if there are tunnels there, then all the more so there is this possibility here.”
Building the kind of complex tunnel network that was found in Gaza, however, takes years of work by a lot of people.
For the past two years Hezbollah was busy helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad combat the rebels in the civil war tearing apart his country. Prior to that they were re-arming following the 2006 Second Lebanon War with Israel. Who is helping them build tunnels?
Probably the North Koreans.
Hamas also made a deal with North Korea this year to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of weapons. Western intelligence sources said this summer the deal was sealed by a Lebanese middleman linked to Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists in eastern Beirut.
The North Koreans have been patrons of Hamas for years — and not only with weapons.
Apparently it was North Korea that taught Hamas how to build its network of tunnels under Gaza.
The Gazans may have had help from Hezbollah, but at best the Lebanese terrorists functioned as North Korean agents, providing secondhand knowhow at bargain basement prices.
Or perhaps Hamas went to Syria to learn the trade. Hamas had its political bureau in Damascus for years. Or they may have gone directly to Iran, the other North Korean partner.
According to a report on The National Interest website last month, North Korea has provided missiles and their technology to all four: Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah.
But now there’s even a bigger concern, according to Victor Cha, D.S. Song-KF Professor in the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service, and Director of Asian Studies at Georgetown University, and senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International studies.
Hana Levi Julian