Residents in communities near the Gaza border are demanding the IDF restore IDF troops to inside their towns. Residents are afraid of the terror tunnels that lead up to their communities, fearing there might also already be Hamas terror tunnels opening up directly underneath their towns.
Despite the resident’s ongoing concerns since the last war with Gaza, the IDF began withdrawing troops stationed inside the communities in January 2015.
The IDF responded to the demand stating they have beefed up the forces around the towns.
A Hamas terrorist arrested by Israel at the beginning of April has revealed a significant amount of information on the efforts by Hamas to build tunnels into Israel, the Shin Bet released for publication on Thursday. This comes shortly after a second Hamas ‘terror tunnel’ was discovered by the IDF in the last few weeks.
The Hamas military wing member told interrogators many details about the routes of the tunnels in the northern Gaza Strip, about Hamas’s digging techniques, about the use of private and public buildings from which the tunnels originate, and about the technologies and materials used in the process.
Mahmoud Atauna, a 29-year-old resident of Jabaliya in Gaza, has been a member of the Hamas military wing for the last decade. He was arrested about a month ago after he crossed into Israel carrying two knives, the Shin Bet said in a statement. Atauna said under questioning that he had intended to stab and kill Israeli civilians or security force members inside Israel.
Atauna also revealed to his interrogators that he belongs to the Al-Qassam Brigades, part of Hamas’s military wing, and that he was involved in various Hamas operations such as the placing of explosives directed against IDF forces. However, the most valuable information he gave concerned his experience in the terror organization’s tunnel project in recent years.
According to the Shin Bet, Atauna pinpointed many digging focus points, including tunnel shafts meant to be used by Hamas elite units to conduct attacks against Israel. He said that the organization has constructed a branched network of tunnels in the Gaza Strip, which is used to transfer combatants and weapons. The tunnels are equipped with rooms in which the militants can rest, shower, and eat.
Atauna also revealed many names of militants who were in his Hamas unit and provided information on how Hamas uses private homes to store weapons. Many weapons were even kept in Atauna’s own home, including bombs, rifles and suicide belts that he was supposed to hand out in the case of a battle.
According to the Shin Bet, Atauna is just one of many Hamas combatants being interrogated and currently revealing inside information on the organization’s tunnel project. An indictment has been filed against him at the Beer Sheva District Court.
“Moments ago mortar rounds were fired at forces during operational activity adjacent to the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip,” said the IDF Spokesperson in a statement.
“No injuries have been reported. An IDF tank responded and fired towards the threat.”
A Hamas terrorist involved in the terror organization’s tunnel network was also arrested in a combined IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operation, according to a brief statement late Thursday afternoon by the intelligence agency.
“It’s nearly two years since Operation Protective Edge” and it’s the quietest it’s ever been since Hamas took control of the region in 2007, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told troops Tuesday during an unannounced visit with IDF soldiers stationed along the northern Gaza border.
Netanyahu had gone with top defense officials to inspect the site of a large terror tunnel leading from Gaza into Israel that was discovered last month. It was intended for use by Hamas’s elite Nukhba commandos during a strategic attack on Israeli communities by the border.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inspects a terror tunnel leading from Gaza under the border deep into Israeli territory.
“Tomorrow is Holocaust Remembrance Day; 70 years ago, we were like a leaf in the wind with no defense force, helpless as they massacred us, slaughtered us. Today we have a country and we have an army – we have the ability to defend ourselves,” Netanyahu said. “What motivates me is to secure the future of Israel in its land, because for the Jewish People there is no future without our land.”
He pointed out that elsewhere in the region things are not nearly as calm. “We are in the eye of the storm, I want you to know this,” he said. “ A half million people have been murdered around us in Syria, which is collapsing. Iraq has collapsed, neither of them – actually – still exist. Yemen collapsed, Libya collapsed.”
Israel is an “island of stability,” he said.
But a few hours after the prime minister left the area, Gaza terrorists opened fire at IDF soldiers and vehicles operating near the Gaza Belt community of Nahal Oz, close to the security fence along Gaza’s northern border. No soldiers were injured in the attack; however, at least one military vehicle was damaged.
According to the IDF Spokesperson, soldiers from the Engineering Corps were doing routine maintenance on the security fence at the time of the attack. They were working on a section of the fence near the Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaya – the location of one of the toughest battles fought by the IDF against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge.
Nahal Oz (TPS) – An Israeli army vehicle was hit by gunfire from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday just hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited troops stationed on Gaza border and inspected a recently uncovered Hamas “terror tunnel” reaching into Israeli territory.
A military vehicle was struck near Nahal Oz, an Israeli community just beyond the security fence bordering the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF announced. The vehicle suffered damage but no one was injured in the incident.
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu toured the southern area of the Gazan border accompanied by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Gadi Eizenkot and inspected the Hamas tunnel uncovered by IDF forces several weeks ago. Netanyahu and Ya’alon were briefed by Gen. Eyal Zamir, Director of the Southern Command, on the most up-to-date Gaza survey findings.
“Tomorrow is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Seventy years ago we were like a leaf in the wind, with no defense force and helpless. We were slaughtered,” Netanyahu told soldiers of the 51st battalion stationed at the border. “Today we have a country and we have an army. We have the ability to defend ourselves on all fronts, both near and remote. What drives me is to secure the future of Israel and its people.”
“We are in the eye of the storm,” Netanyahu continued. “You see what’s happening. Millions are fleeing for their lives to Europe, and we have ISIS in the Golan on the other side [of the border], and ISIS here on the other side,” he said, referring to extremist forces in the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Desert.
“We are basically in the eye of the storm, and relative to the area we are the most stable, tranquil, and safest country.”