The photo above is of Gazan trucks loaded with bags of cement after they entered Gaza from Israel at the Kerem Shalom crossing, on May 23, 2016.
On May 22, Israel lifted a temporary ban imposed last month on private imports of cement to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, just around the time the latest terror tunnels were found. Those terror tunnels were built with cement sent into Gaza and diverted by Hamas.
Israel accused Imad al-Baz, the deputy director of the Hamas economic ministry of the latest diversion of supplies.
What’s going to stop these cement shipments from being diverted?
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.