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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘tunnels’

Major Hamas Tunnel Engineer Captured, Indicted

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Israeli intelligence agents last month arrested high-ranking Hamas tunnels engineer Bilal Razaineh, a 24-year-old resident of Gaza who was captured as he crossed the border fence into Israel, the Shin Bet revealed Wednesday after an indictment was filed in Be’er Sheva District Court for the terrorist activities in which he was involved. The charges included membership and activity in a banned organization and weapons offenses.

In the framework of a combined ISA and Israel Police operation, considerable information about Hamas’s tunneling operations has been obtained while questioning Razaineh, who has been a member of the Izz a-Din al Qassam military wing of Hamas for the past 10 years.

Razaineh, who was arrested on November 27, is the brother of Mustafa Razaineh, the head of internal security for Hamas in northern Gaza.

According to the Israel Security Agency (ISA / Shin Bet), most of Bilal Razaineh’s activity in Hamas in recent years has been in the field of tunneling and in the company of his brother. He provided considerable information on the outlines of tunnels in northern Gaza to his interrogators, as well as on Hamas’s tunneling operations in general. In this context, it was learned that a tunnel was dug from his family home, which branched into many other tunnels and serves – inter alia – as a storage area for war materiel.

Bilal also provided information about various Hamas positions, about his role as a Hamas sniper and on other Hamas – and Islamic Jihad – terrorist activities.

It was also learned that during Operation Protective Edge, his brother and other senior Hamas operatives hid in the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza and from there – and civilian residences as well – directed the fighting. During Operation Protective Edge, Bilal acted – inter alia – as a courier and passed messages between his brother and senior Hamas operatives.

“It should be noted that the information gained about Hamas’s use of civilian structures in order to advance terrorist operations is an additional example of the repeated violation of international law by Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations,” the Shin Bet said in its statement.

“The information obtained during the investigation of Bilal, and other Hamas terrorists who have been arrested recently, underscores the great efforts that Hamas invests in preparing for a military clash with Israel.”

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Bulldozers Level Land Along Southern Gaza Strip Border in Search of Tunnels

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

A team of IDF bulldozers entered inside the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday morning and proceeded to raze the lands past the border fence, Arab media reported. The Ma’an news agency cited local witnesses who said that five Israeli military bulldozers came through the Sufa crossing and entered about 50 yards into the strip, east of the city of Rafah.

They reported that the bulldozers were leveling the lands along the border fence.

The IDF has been crossing the Gaza Strip buffer zone frequently, with heavy machinery, since the 2014 war, in search of newly dug terror tunnels that lead underground into Israeli territory.

Arabs who work near the buffer zone on occasion attempt to attack, even fire on the machinery and are repelled with fire.

Ma’an complained that the practice has “destroyed much of the agricultural sector of the blockaded coastal enclave,” a loss that could be prevented by not digging any more tunnels into Israel.

And while Israel’s buffer zone defending its civilians against Gazan terrorists is quite narrow, Egypt has demolished more than 3,255 homes and other buildings on Gaza’s Egyptian border, to create its own buffer zone and eliminate smuggling tunnels, after a surge in attacks by Islamist terrorists. The Egyptian military destroyed nearly all buildings and farmland within about half a mile from the Gaza border, using uncontrolled explosives and earth-moving equipment.

In comparison, the incursions of IDF D9 bulldozers into Gaza are described even by local media as “limited.”

JNi.Media

‘BDS is the New Face of Terrorism’ Says Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told the Jewish National Fund in New York on Sunday that the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement is the new face of terror.

Shaked, a top official with Israel’s Bayit Yehudi party, addressed the JNF Conference in New York on Sunday, speaking on the issue of the BDS Movement and how its activities impact Israel in daily life. She condemned the movement, likening its activities to the tunneling of the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.

“The BDS movement is digging tunnels to undermine the foundations and values of Israel,” she said. “We have to stop these tunnels as well.”

The movement constitutes an existential threat at its core, she added. “Supporters of the BDS movement are attempting to destroy our very right to exist. They refuse to accept our most natural, basic and simple right: the existence of the State of Israel.”

Regardless of what mask terror wears, she said, one simple truth stands out: “You cannot defeat the enemy unless you call it what it is. That is why I am not afraid to do so. We are fighting Islamic extremism,” she said pointedly, underscoring a fact that has not once been uttered during the entire eight years of the entire reign of the the Obama administration.

Hana Levi Julian

World Vision Cancels Gaza Projects & Jobs After Longtime Hamas Stealing Exposed

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

The World Vision international humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) has laid off 120 Gaza employees and cancelled its project in the region after the head of its Gaza office was indicted by Israel for redirecting project funds into the coffers of the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization.

The contracts of the NGO’s Gaza employees were cancelled, according to an employee quoted over the weekend by UK-based newspaper The Guardian, in a report confirmed by World Vision. The NGO had rushed to cancel the project just days after Mohammed El-Halabi was indicted.

World Vision’s eastern Jerusalem office had released a statement on Friday, July 29, passionately defending El-Halabi as a “widely respected and well-regarded humanitarian, field manager and trusted colleague of over a decade. He has displayed compassionate leadership on behalf of the children and communities of Gaza through difficult and challenging times, and has always worked diligently and professionally in fulfilling his duties.”

Less than two weeks later, however, “They informed 120 employees from World Vision in Gaza they were officially cancelling their contracts and stopping all their projects in the enclave,” the employee said. “The head of the NGO in Palestine and a number of foreign staff met on August 9 with Palestinian employees in the Gaza office and gave them documents to sign, which they did.” The employee added that the NGO had promised to take the staff back ‘once the crisis was resolved.’

On August 4, after the indictment, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) intelligence service announced World Vision’s Gaza operations manager Mohammed El-Halabi had funneled 60 percent of the organization’s budget to the military wing of Hamas.

El-Halabi was arrested on June 15, 20165 at the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza. He was indicted in Israel on August 4, 2016 on charges of infiltrating the charity on behalf of Hamas, and having redirected some $43 million of World Vision funds to the military wing of the terror organization over a six-year period.

According to the indictment and subsequent media reports, the funds were instead used to build Hamas terrorist tunnels and military installations, as well as for other terrorist activities.

World Vision International (WVI) argued the Israeli-quoted figure was inaccurate, saying the budget for Gaza operations was smaller than the amount claimed by the Shin Bet.

But according to watchdog organization NGO Monitor, it’s not that simple and in fact, the World Vision International (WVI) umbrella organization also has some structural difficulties to work out.

There is the Israeli World Vision division, founded in 1988, and with $16.3 million in revenue in 2014, received solely from local donations and from WVI.

And then there is World Vision’s Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza office (JWG), which allegedly had a “cumulative operating budget in Gaza for the past ten years … approximately $22.5 million” , according to the WVI office. The group’s income from 2004-2015 was reportedly $133 million, according to the NGO Monitor.

But the watchdog agency – headed by Prof. Gerald Steinberg, professor of political studies at Bar Ilan University – says the numbers don’t match, and it’s not clear how the money was really spent. Take a look.

Moreover, the relationship between the three different groups isn’t clear and so it’s also impossible to tell which money went where, who sent it, why and how.

World Vision International (WVI), the Mother Ship, should be able to keep it all organized and offer a clear, complete breakdown of the numbers — but apparently has been unable to do so thus far.

Hana Levi Julian

UN Blames Israel For Lousy Mobile Reception In Hamas Tunnels

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

(Originally posted to the PreOccupied Territory website}

Khan Yunis, June 19 – United Nations officials issued harsh criticism of Israel today for the sorry state of wireless connectivity and reception in the tunnel Hamas uses to move men and materiel through the Gaza Strip.

UN Human Rights Council President Wai Fai of China, who holds the position on a rotational basis, called the failure of Israel to provide adequate mobile communications technology infrastructure for people moving through Hamas tunnels a violation of Palestinian rights. “We have the misfortune of being witness to yet another way in which Israel tramples the rights of Palestinians in Gaza,” said Wai.

Council representatives interviewed hundreds of Hamas operatives and forced child laborers in the tunnels over the last two years since the last round of fighting between Hamas and Israel, and found that conditions in the cramped tunnels have not improved. In many cases, said delegation spokesman Mol Ratt, the lack of wireless infrastructure has cost lives when tunnels collapsed on the fighters inside them and the trapped Hamas personnel were unable to signal for help, and those who were not crushed to death immediately were also rendered unable to play online games to keep occupied as they suffocated.

“It would have been more humane to enable the doomed people trapped in those tunnels to play, for example, Candy Crush,” explained Ratt. “But once again, we have gathered extensive evidence of Israel’s disregard for the needs of Hamas fighters.”

Even more egregiously, said Ratt, Israel collectively punishes all users of Hamas tunnels, not only the fighters who maneuver and train in them and the child laborers the organization forces to dig them. “The lack of adequate mobile communications infrastructure in the tunnels under Gaza also affects smugglers,” noted Ratt. “People who want to bring in luxury goods from Egypt instead of Israel, aside from having to brave the antipathy of Egyptian military and government authorities, are consequently deprived of access to their social media and news sources while underground. This so-called ‘collateral damage’ is thinly and flimsily veiled underneath Israel’s ostensible need to protect itself from attack.”

The UN panel’s criticism of Israel in this regard continues a similar rhetorical line to that adopted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who visited Israel in the aftermath of the 2014 war and was guided into one of the neutralized attack tunnels by IDF representatives. At the time, Ban voiced his sympathy for those who spent time in such cramped conditions.

PreOccupied Territory

State Comptroller Draft Report Reveals Ya’alon Brazenly Refused to Attack Hamas Tunnels

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

The texts of meeting protocols which were used in the State Comptroller’s draft report on the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, also known as Operation Protective Edge, offer a peek into the intense political pressure used mainly by Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) to force a reluctant IDF and defense ministry brass to take action against the Hamas terror tunnels reaching inside Israel, Channel 2 News revealed Saturday night.

One mindblowing revelation in the report is that Defense Minister Ya’alon, famous for his recent encouragement of IDF officers to speak their minds, no matter what, was in the habit, during the security cabinet meetings, of forcing those same officers to remain silent if their views did not match his own. Some Israeli commentators have already speculated that Ya’alon chose to leave over an “ideological” dispute with Prime Minister Netanyahu, rather than to be pushed out over the upcoming condemning Comptroller’s report.

The security cabinet convened on the day of the discovery of the bodies of three Jewish youths who had been kidnapped by Hamas operatives. At the meeting, Former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, now retiring Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and the Shabak — all shared the view that Hamas was not seeking a large-scale confrontation with Israel. In the meeting, Minister of the Economy and of Religious Services Naftali Bennett, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebrman (Yisrael Beiteinu) both warned they would vote against a weak military retaliation.

At the same meeting, the protocols show Bennett mentioning dozens of Hamas attack tunnels and the fear that Hamas would use them for a strategic attack. This information should be viewed in the context of the 2006 Gilad Shalit kidnapping. The Shalit kidnapping was executed in a Hamas raid using a cross-border underground tunnel. It resulted in the 2011 prisoner exchange fiasco, in which PM Netanyahu, fearing for his popularity, released 1,027 Arab security prisoners, many with Jewish blood on their hands.

On that first security cabinet of the Gaza War, before the forces had been launched, Netanyahu told Ya’alon: “I would like to see plans for taking care of the tunnels, even if this would lead to an escalation and to rocket fire.” But the meeting ended without resolutions.

24 hours later, the security cabinet convened again, twice. Ya’alon presented a report saying that Egypt claims Hamas is calling for restraint.

Bennett then asked, “What will happen if they use the tunnels the way did with Gilad Shalit?”

Netanyahu answered that “a penetrating ground operation might drag Israel into conquering Gaza.”

And Ya’alon said, on the record, “If we don’t act, Hamas won’t use the tunnels.”

“Are we going to hear the plan to take care of the tunnels?” Bennett insisted, and Netanyahu explained that the army still needs to discuss those plans. Bennett responded impatiently, “They should have done their homework already.”

Another 24 hours later, Shabak presented intelligence reports of an attack tunnel near the Jewish community of Kerem Shalom. However, the Shabak head assured the security cabinet: “Strategically, the Hamas has no intention of using the tunnels.” Bennett asked him how he knew this, and the Shabak head did not respond.

Bennet: Is it possible to destroy the tunnels?

Gantz: There are a few options of action.

Bennett: Is there a plan?

Ya’alon: Yes.

Gantz: We should leave the decision of taking care [of the tunnels] to when we decide whether we’re going in on the ground and how.

According to Channel 2, Gantz was referring to the option of bombing the tunnel openings from the air, using intelligence reports.

On July 3, 2014, at the next security cabinet meeting, the IDF once again argues that Hamas does not intend to use the tunnels, which results in confrontation between various ministers. At some point, Bennett called IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz a “lazy horse,” saying that the forces in the field are eager to go into Gaza and finish the job once and for all, but the high command is preventing them.

Netanyahu: Attacking the tunnels would make it difficult to expose and thwart them.

Bennett: There is a scenario of a mass attack coming out of the tunnels.

Gantz: If we exit from a tunnel and they’ll shoot at us from some hilltop, and we’ll take it over, and then another hill, and another, we’ll find ourselves in the heart of Gaza. We could be dragged into conquering the Strip.”

Bennett: [But] we decide how and when to exit.

Ya’alon: Forces would be sucked in. It’s preferable to try and calm the situation.

Only at this stage, less than one week before the July 8 start of the war, did the Southern Command form a “forward defense” plan to deal with the tunnels. The plan was presented to the chief of staff and the defense minister, who chose not to present it to the cabinet the next time it convenes, July 7, 2014. Bennett nevertheless insisted on adding the taking care of the tunnels to the operation’s goals. Both Netanyahu and Ya’alon object.

Ya’alon: It’s wrong to define a goal of stripping Hamas of its tunnels at this stage, the Egyptians are working on a ceasefire.

Head of the NSC Yossi Cohen: We’ve asked the chief of staff already, and he says they’re doing the best they can, but we can’t destroy all of them.

Bennett and Lieberman, who appear to have done their homework, want to know if the army had examined all the options, including going in on the ground.

Shabak head: The IDF has decided at this stage not to go in on the ground.

Southern Command Chief, Maj. Gen. Shlomo Turgeman, attended the July 10, 2014 security cabinet meeting. Only then was the IDF plan of dealing with the tunnels presented to the ministers.

Bennett: How deep will this draw us in?

Turgeman: There will be friction, but we shouldn’t exaggerate [the consequences].

Bennett then asked Turgeman what he would have done in his, Bennett’s shoes, at which point Ya’alon and Gantz retorted that, “he is not you, he is not in your shoes.” So Bennett defered and asked, “Fine, what would you have done in your own shoes?”

Here is when both Gantz and Ya’alon tried to force their subordinate Turgeman to shut up. Remember Moshe Ya’alon, who has grabbed so much attention urging IDF officers to speak their minds even if it contradicted the accepted dogmas? Even, in fact, if it could be perceived as a kind of coups d’état? Turns out that when one of Ya’alon’s top officers was trying to voice an opinion different from the boss’s, it was not greeted lovingly. Finally, Netanyahu asked Turgeman to respond.

Turgeman: In your shoes or in mine, I would take action.

Lieberman then said, “We have to go on everything or nothing. Either conquer Gaza or stop everything.” But according to the protocols, all the other ministers objected.

Should be interesting when the same question comes up again, except this time around Lieberman would be running the army.

JNi.Media

Shin Bet Reveals: Arrested Hamas Member Gave Israel Information on Tunnels

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

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.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/shin-bet-reveals-arrested-hamas-member-gave-israel-information-on-tunnels/2016/05/05/

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