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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘tunnels’

Hamas Isolated as Egypt Razes Homes to Clear 500-Yard Wide Buffer

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

It has been going on for several months, but now it’s official, as reported by the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, Egyptian border forces destroyed 10 smuggling tunnels and seven homes in the Sinai on Saturday as part of their new campaign to create a 500 yard wide buffer zone (5 football fields) along the border with the Gaza Strip.

The campaign began with a military operation in the border town of Rafah, where tunnels leading into the Gaza Strip were targeted in border neighborhoods, an Egyptian security source told Ma’an.

The source added that the tunnels were destroyed and the homes they were located in were blown up. The move was part of a wider campaign to set up a buffer zone along the border with Gaza in Rafah that would extend 300 meters in populated areas and 500 meters in open areas.

If anyone was wondering what motivated the Egyptians to act so emphatically to separate themselves from the Hams governed Gaza Strip, the same source also told Ma’an that Egyptian army forces on Saturday successfully foiled three explosive devices placed in military vehicles and armored cars in Sheikh Zuwaid, including two that were placed near the Sheikh Zuweid Hospital and a third on the road to a nearby village south of Sheikh Zuewid.

They’ve had enough of the pesky Palestinian terrorists spreading death wherever they turn, so they cut them off. Let Turkey help them.

The source added that Egyptian army forces raided “militant strongholds” in the village of al-Kharuba south of Sheikh Zuweid and destroyed three homes and five “hideouts.” Oh, and this is rich: they also destroyed an olive grove that was reportedly used to hide terrorists following attacks taking place on the nearby road to Rafah International crossing.

Ma’an reminded readers that until July 2013 tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt provided a vital lifeline for the territory which was facing a “crippling Israeli blockade” since 2006. But since the coup against Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood president Morsi in July, Egypt has strictly enforced a blockade of its own and caved in the tunnels.

Egyptian Maj. Gen. Ahmad Ibrahim said last October that nearly 800 tunnels had been destroyed since the Morsi toppling, an estimated 95 percent of previously existing tunnels. Last night 10 more went under.

A day before the Egyptian action, during a rally in Rafah, Sami Abu Zuhri, a senior spokesman for Hamas, rebuked Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from negotiations with the U.S. and Israel, as the talks only serve to “terminate the question of Palestine and what is left of Palestinian rights and principles.”

In other words, by ostensibly reaching a resolution for the Palestinian’s plight the imagined peace deal would effectively end the struggle for a resolution to the Palestinian plight. Must be a chicken and egg thing.

“Nobody has authorized you (Abbas) to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, or on behalf of Hamas or any other faction,” Abu Zuhri said. “Why don’t you tell the truth about what is going on in the secret negotiations? If you are honest, go out to your people and tell the truth and give them details.”

Back in 2006, Sami Abu Zuhri was trying to cross from Egypt into Gaza in Rafah, when he dropped a money belt with 900,000 euros in it. The law is one must declare any sum above $2,000. Abu Zuhri said it was all private donations. For the orphans.

Anyway, the Hamas spokesman also declared his movement would regard any international military presence within a future Palestinian state as “occupation” forces. So American and NATO troops are as bad as the IDF as far as Hamas is concerned.

Here’s How Hamas Digs Terror Tunnels and Builds Rockets (Video)

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Hamas continues to dig underground, building dozens of tunnels used to attack and kidnap Israelis while manufacturing powerful weapons, producing missiles that can reach major Israeli cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The terrorist authority has trained civilians to become experts in building underground tunnel, IDF spokesmen stated on the military’s blog website.“Hamas’ military wing devotes about 20 percent of its budget to building these tunnels inside Gaza, many of which lead under the border into Israel.

IDF soldiers last October discovered the opening of a 60-foot deep and mile-long tunnel built by Gaza terrorists near the Israeli community of Ein HaShlosha.

“There’s one Gaza above ground, and another one underground,” said a senior officer in the IDF Intelligence Corps. “Tunneling has existed [in Gaza] since the mid 1990s, but it has really grown into an industry. More funds are invested in it – we’re talking about millions of dollars every year – and the need for engineers are growing.

“Our estimate is that there are tens of tunnels from Gaza into Israel, only half of which we know about. Hamas pays professionals to train special military units that have one simple purpose: to dig and tunnel underground.”

Since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense, in November 2012, Hamas has been busy rebuilding its arsenal. Because importing weapons has become more difficult for Hamas, the terrorist organization has begun manufacturing rockets inside Gaza, and Hamas is producing the M-75, which can reach as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

“They focus on rockets of higher quality,” explained the officer. “During Operation Pillar of Defense, only five M-75 rockets were fired, but we expect more in a future conflict.” The rocket is only one part of Hamas’ expanding arsenal. Today there are more than 10,000 rockets, mortar shells and ammunition in the hands of the Gaza terrorists.

Hamas Admits: We Dug Up the Tunnel to Kidnap Israelis

Monday, October 21st, 2013

The Hamas organization accepted responsibility on Sunday for the digging of the “terror tunnel” exposed by the IDF a week and a half ago in the area between Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha and the Gaza Strip border.

It turns out the Hamas has a “military arm,” which is responsible for doing the bad things, while the “civilian arm” continues to receive donations from the nice folks in Europe. This way they make sure that the money donated to Hamas is only used to feed orphans and widows, all of them 100 percent victims of Israeli genocide.

On Sunday, a spokesman for the bad Hamas, a gentleman nicknamed Abu Ubaida, after a medieval Muslim language scholar (on account of the talking, you get it, right?), told the Hamas radio station in Gaza that the Hamas military force “dug the tunnel and were responsible for it.”

Abu Ubaida stated that the tunnel was dug in an attempt to kidnap an Israeli soldier or civilian, and use them to force Israel to release the remaining thousands of Palestinian prisoners in its jails.

Israel has established many times in the past that not only is it happy to negotiate with terrorist, but that it’s willing to give away the story. The going rate for 1,000 jailed Arabs is one captured Israeli.

In 2011, 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, who were collectively responsible for 569 Israeli deaths, were released in exchange for Gilad Shalit. The campaign to release him (see the girls below painting his portrait on the pavement) reassured Hamas that they don’t need to ever give up anything in negotiations, or recognize, not even on paper, the Jews’ right to live. All they need is to get them a succulent Israeli with good, middle class parents.

Free_Gilad_Shali

It should be noted that the IDF blamed Hamas for the tunnel as soon as it was discovered. It also blamed winter for rain, and summer for those long, hot days in August.

It should also be noted that the tunnel required some 500 tons of cement, which was produced in Israel and provided to the Arabs in Gaza for the explicit purpose of rebuilding their neighborhoods following the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense.

It appears that the Arabs went ahead and used that precious cement to aggressive ends, rather than to construct their homes. In fact, the IDF estimated that an astounding 20% of Hamas’s annual budget goes into building terror tunnels.

This is astonishing, in light of the fact that they’ve never done anything like that before, and no one in Israel could have imagined this kind of treachery. This is a moral failure on the part of the bad Hams, and we certainly hope the good Hamas will give them a sound rebuke!

The tunnel, incidentally, was 45 feet deep in places, and looks like a mini subway tunnel, complete with a track and a small car that could be used to whisk away the kidnapped soldier, even as his or her parents are being called and urged to start organizing a mass grassroots movement to release a thousand murderers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the IDF for the discovery, saying it’s all part of Israel’s new, aggressive security policy, which is the reason why we’ve had the “quietest year in a decade” in Gaza, despite the rise in terrorist activity in recent years.

Of course, it could be that the reason the Arabs have been so quiet is that they’re all underground, digging up tunnels.

It’s interesting to note that the Egyptian Army has found a very effective way of securing its own border with the Gaza Strip: they caved in all the tunnels with bulldozers, then used the same bulldozers to raze a swath of several kilometers worth of buildings, creating a no man’s area where Arabs who dare to enter will be shot.

Could we contract the same Egyptians to fix our Gaza problem?

After the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Is Hamas in Gaza Next in Line?

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Originally published at Israel and Terrorism.

Egypt has finally decided to tackle the security threat from the Sinai Peninsula, a region that was nearly under the control of jihadist organizations with links to al-Qaeda and Hamas.

The Egyptian army’s ultimate goal is clear: to recover Egypt’s sovereignty in Sinai. In order to succeed in its mission, the Egyptian supreme command understands that it must neutralize Hamas, which it sees as partly responsible for the security situation in Sinai during the last few years.

For the first time since it was founded, Hamas is showing signs of panic. Egyptian newspapers quoted Palestinian sources as saying that 90 percent of the smuggling tunnels along the border with Gaza have stopped functioning as a result of Egyptian measures, leading to the potential loss of nearly 40 percent of Hamas’ revenues.

With the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt counting its dead by the hundreds and the campaign being waged by the Egyptian army against them far from over, and with its relations with Turkey and Qatar faltering, Hamas has instructed its spokesmen to avoid making any comments about the crisis in Egypt so as not to evoke the wrath of Egyptian army Commander in Chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Since the Egyptian military ousted President Mohamed Morsi in early July 2013, it has embarked on a punitive campaign against Hamas, the self-declared offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood.

During this time, the Egyptian army has destroyed more than 300 tunnels (out of as many as 800), the arteries of the Gaza economy; created a 500-meter-wide buffer zone along the 11 km. Gaza-Egypt border, from the Mediterranean Sea until the Israel-Egypt border south of Rafah, while razing scores of inhabited buildings that stood in the way;1 implemented a de-facto siege on Gaza by closing intermittently the official Israel-Egypt border crossing; chased Gaza fisherman at sea; and engaged in an unprecedented and coordinated media smear campaign against Hamas, accusing the terrorist group of trying to destabilize Egypt and ultimately replace the government with its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Indeed, Egypt has finally decided to tackle the security threat from the Sinai Peninsula, a region that was nearly under the control of jihadist organizations with links to al-Qaeda and Hamas. The Egyptian army has massed troops, deployed combat helicopters, dispatched navy patrol boats, and is carrying out coordinated attacks against concentrations of terrorists in Sinai.

The Egyptian army’s ultimate goal is clear: to recover Egypt’s sovereignty in Sinai. In order to succeed in its mission, the Egyptian supreme command understands that it must neutralize Hamas, which it sees as partly responsible for the security situation in Sinai during the last few years.

Hamas’ Strong Ties to the Muslim Brotherhood

There is no doubt that the origin of the Egyptian military’s actions against Hamas lay in the basic fact that during the brief rule of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt under the Morsi presidency, Hamas enjoyed a privileged position and almost an official adoption by the regime, to such a point that Hamas behaved as if it was part of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood. For example, Hamas enjoyed complete freedom for its illegal commerce through the 650-800 tunnels that linked the Gaza Strip to Egypt; for its assistance to jihadi groups in Sinai; for its unaccountability for the six Egyptian police officers kidnapped and held in Gaza for more than five years; and, ultimately, for ignoring the Egyptian armed forces’ warnings since Hamas was (according to some sources) led by government officials who issued instructions to ignore the Egyptian army since it was irrelevant.

However, beyond these facts, the actual ruling team in Egypt knows that Hamas was involved in the earliest days of the revolution against President Mubarak, when protesters stormed Egyptian prisons and freed hundreds of detainees, who were mostly Muslim Brothers, as well as Hizbullah and Palestinian operatives held in Egypt for terrorist activities. Hamas took part alongside the Egyptian Muslim Brothers in the violence against the Mubarak regime and, according to some press releases, Hamas operatives were involved in firing metal darts against anti-Morsi protesters loyal to the regime.2

In addition, the Egyptian armed forces accuse Hamas of harboring the jihadists that killed almost 30 Egyptian officers and soldiers in Sinai in the summer of 2012. The Egyptian army also claims that at least five Hamas operatives were involved in the execution of 25 unarmed Egyptian policemen near el-Arish on August 19, 2013.3 The Egyptian army has also accused Hamas of trying to smuggle hundreds of deadly weapons, including 19 Grad rockets, and fake Egyptian army uniforms, in order to create havoc inside Egypt.4

Currently, 15 major terrorist groups operate in Sinai. Each of these groups, without exception, is closely linked to terrorist activities in the Gaza Strip. Egyptian and Israeli authorities are aware that several of the most dominant jihadists in Sinai, including those who were involved in the attack against the Egyptian army in 2012, are now hiding in Gaza with Hamas’ knowledge and consent.5 Finally, Hamas is accused of harboring the new Muslim Brothers’ Supreme Guide, Mahmoud Ezzat, in Gaza and of conducting joint training between Muslim Brothers who found refuge in Gaza and elements of the Al-Qassam Brigades in the area of Khan Younes before sending them to Sinai and inside Egypt.6

Economic Pressure in Gaza

Given what is happening in Egypt now, Hamas is alarmed. For the first time since it was founded, Hamas is showing signs of panic.7 The cost to Hamas is tremendous: Egyptian newspapers quoted Palestinian sources as saying that 90 percent of the smuggling tunnels along the border with the Gaza Strip have stopped functioning as a result of the Egyptian measures. According to the Gaza economic ministry, the recent tunnel destruction has cost Gaza around $230 million.8 Hamas spokesmen appealed to the Egyptian authorities asking them not to shut down the tunnels until Hamas could find other channels for bringing goods into Gaza. The extent to which Hamas relies on the smuggling tunnels is evident in an internal report made public by the Al-Monitor news site. It shows that Gaza gets most of its goods through the tunnels, and not through the official border crossings from Israel or Egypt. In the first quarter of 2013, for example, the tunnels provided 65 percent of flour, 98 percent of sugar and 100 percent of steel and cement deliveries.9

If the delivery of goods via the tunnels is discontinued, a lack of supplies will not be the only problem. It will create financial disaster for Hamas, since taxes on goods delivered via Israel are transferred to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Only taxes on smuggled goods end up in the Hamas treasury. It has been estimated that these taxes account for 40 percent of the government’s entire revenue and are used by Hamas to pay the salaries of over 45,000 civil servants. In recent months, Hamas has been earning some $8 million in taxes on smuggled fuel alone, and also levies a tax of about $5.40 on every ton of cement. An average of 70,000 tons of cement is smuggled into Gaza every month.10

Hamas’ leaders are consulting over how, and even if, they can help their brothers in Cairo, but at the same time they are talking about how to stay alive. So while the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is counting its dead by the hundreds, and the campaign being waged by the Egyptian army against them is far from over, the Hamas movement has withdrawn into itself and instructed its spokesmen to avoid making any comments about the crisis in Egypt, so that it does not upset those very people it really does not want to upset right now. Hamas spokesmen totally deny Hamas involvement in terrorist attacks conducted against Egyptian troops in Sinai. Hamas did not dare organize even a single rally in support of them. It seems that fear causes Hamas to take extra precautions – both in word and deed – so as not to evoke the wrath of Egyptian army Commander in Chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.11

The situation in Egypt has paralyzed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and even the leader of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, who seems to have disappeared ever since Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was deposed.12

There was little surprise that the Hamas leaders who have spoken out against Egypt are those based abroad and not those living in Gaza.13 As a political scientist at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University put it, “Those who live abroad don’t care as much about Gaza’s isolation, but Gaza’s rulers will pay the price for any Egyptian escalation. I think those in Gaza will be more prudent and nuanced when they speak about the new Egyptian government.”14

Hamas Losing Allies

The most important question of all remains: What future does Hamas have? For the first time in more than two decades, Hamas has no regional political allies in positions of power – a huge problem for a movement that is heavily dependent on alliances that provide financial, military, and political support. Sunni Hamas severed ties with former ally Syria last year over its crackdown on the predominantly Sunni Syrian opposition. As a result, Iran has stopped its financial aid that consisted of almost $20 million per month.15 Syria and Hamas, along with Iran and Hizbullah, formed the so-called “axis of resistance” that opposed Israel and the West. For decades, Syria embraced Hamas’ leadership and provided the Islamic movement with funds, weapons, and political support, which were used to wage war against Israel and, later, the more moderate Palestinian faction, Fatah.

Now, Hamas has turned to Turkey and Qatar to fill the void.16 However, since Egypt’s Islamist government was toppled, and following the deterioration in Turkish-Egyptian as well as Qatari-Egyptian relations, Hamas’ relationship with Turkey and Qatar has seemed to be faltering. Egypt was the critical link between Gaza and its benefactors because of its shared border.

An article in Hamas’ official daily Al-Rissalah claimed: “Indications on the ground show that Cairo…will not allow the Islamic model in Gaza to remain standing due to its ideological ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is being marginalized from the Egyptian political scene at gunpoint….Those who follow Egyptian affairs know full well that Gaza is prone to return to its political isolation. This is the biggest fear of Palestinians living in the Strip, following a year of regional and international acceptance.”17

It would be fair to assess that Gaza’s isolation is Egypt’s ultimate goal, since such an objective would meet Egypt’s interests: to consign Gaza to oblivion and reduce Hamas to its real size.

*     *     *

Notes

1. Assaf Gibor, Maariv-nrg, 2 September 2013.
2. Elhanan Miller, “Hamas used metal darts to kill protesters during Egypt’s revolution,” Times of Israel, 30 April 2013.
3. i24news, 25 August 2013.
4. “Egyptian General: Hamas terrorizing Egyptians,” Times of Israel, 18 July 2013.
5. Avi Issacharoff, “No summer break in the violent Middle East,” Times of Israel, 23 August 2013.
6. Al-Yawm el-Sabei, Egypt, 24 August 2013.
7. Shlomi Eldar, “Has Hamas abandoned Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood?” Al-Monitor, 19 August 2013.
8. Ahmad Aldabba, “With Brotherhood’s fall in Egypt, Hamas faces harsh reality again,” Christian Science Monitor, 27 July 2013.
9. Theresa Breuer, “Closed tunnels could ruin Hamas,” Der Spiegel, 30 July 2013.
10. Ibid.
11. Shlomi Eldar, op.cit.
12. Ibid.
13. Elhanan Miller, “Cautiously Hamas speaks out against Egyptian bloodshed,” Times of Israel, 19 August 2013.
14. Ibid.
15. Theresa Breuer, op.cit.
16. Ahmad Aldabba, op.cit.
17. Elhanan Miller, op.cit.

http://israelagainstterror.blogspot.co.il/2013/10/after-muslim-brotherhood-in-egypt-is.html

6 Egyptians Killed Overnight in Multiple Sinai Attacks

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

At least 6 Egyptians were killed and 11 injured in a series of attacks in the Sinai overnight. Among the dead are two Egyptian soldiers, 2 policemen, and 2 citizens.

Overall there were 10 overnight attacks that hit police stations, and military outposts in El Arish and Rafiach.

Judea and Samaria Arabs Dig Tunnels Under Security Fence

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Until recently, Judea and Samaria Arabs would sneak into Israel by climbing the fence, cutting the barbed wire and severing the alarm system. But now security forces have foiled at least two infiltration attempts through tunnels dug under the fence near the Israeli Arab town of Taiba, Maariv reported.

The main concern is that terrorists would use these tunnels to abduct hitchhiking soldiers.

The Gaza tunnels, connecting the Hamas ruled strip to Egypt, are being used to smuggle weapons, food and construction materials, have long become the primary means of supplying the local Arab population. But the newly discovered tunnels connecting Judea and Samaria to Israel are not needed as supply routes – local Arabs enjoy direct access to goods, both receiving and ecporting. These new tunnels can only serve clandestine ends.

So far, the Arab terrorist cell that attempted to pass through the tunnels managed to flee before the army forces arrived, so their goals in infiltrating Israel, as well as their organizational affiliation are yet to be investigated.

The failed attempt to sneak through tunnels dug under the fence joins other common ways that the Arabs have been trying, including climbing over the fence, cutting off contact alert system and cutting the fence.

In the Tulkarm area, the IDF has discovered more sophisticated attempts to break through the fence, including the “window opening,” which involves cutting the fence, going through it and then leaving the cut part whole, so as not to arouse the suspicion of IDF patrols.

When completed, the Israeli security barrier’s total length will be approximately 700 kilometres (430 miles). It is credited with much of Israel’s success in nearly stopping terrorist attacks from Judea and Samaria.

Terror on the Roads: Roundup for Monday Evening

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

4: 36 PM Stone throwing near the Gush Etzion tunnel roads

4:51 PM  Firebombs causes a fire near Atarot. Firefighters can’t get near to put it out due to massive stone throwing.The firefighters were eventually rescued by Border Police who used live fire.

5:24 PM Stoning in Hebron near Gross Square at Israeli cars.

7:43 PM An Israeli bulletproof bus was stolen from the Gush Etzion area and was last seen headed towards Hebron. License number 45-187-68. Security forces are looking for it.

7:43 PM 6 stoning attacks including: Rachel’s Tomb, Azun (Karnei Shomron)

8:59 PM Beitar Ilit – One man lightly injured from rock throwing at the Beitar/60 junction.

9:10 PM Arab arrested with a knife at the southern entrance to Kibbutz Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion.

10:09 PM Firebomb thrown at Israeli vehicle near El Arub (between Gush Etzion Junction and Hebron).

Hamas PM on Official Visit to Egypt

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh left Gaza to Egypt on Saturday with a delegation of 21 senior Hamas members. Haniyeh is meeting with senior Egyptian security personnel.

The Hamas delegation are trying to improve relations with Egypt, which have been on a down-slide ever since the terror attacks began in the Sinai which many suspect are connected to Islamic groups in Gaza, as well as Egypt’s recent flooding and destruction of tens, and possibly even hundreds of Gazan smuggling tunnels.

Egypt also believes that Hamas was specifically involved in an attack that killed 16 Egyptian policemen last year in the Sinai (Rafah).

Al-Arabiyah claims that Haniyeh plans to talk about “Israeli violations of the truce” [between Israel and Gaza].

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hamas-pm-on-official-visit-to-egypt/2013/03/31/

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