Hamas is digging for the next Gaza war
Times of Israel:
After quite a few attempts at concealment and denial, Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, on Thursday released the names of “the seven heroes, men of Allah” who were killed earlier in the week in the collapse of an attack tunnel in the Tufah neighborhood in the northeastern part of Gaza City, only a few hundred yards from the Israeli border.Why do so many people in Europe think these people will ever agree to a two-state solution. They are Islamic religious bigots who can't tolerate anyone with a different view of religion anywhere near them. The French attempt to force a settlement or recognize this terror state will only create more bloodshed and war. Their empathy for these want to be mass murderers is inexplicable.
At first, Hamas leaders tried to hide the fact that any of its members had been killed in the tunnel. Then they claimed that the men were merely missing. Finally, they released the names of seven of the 11 excavators who were there at the time of the collapse.
Hamas’s statement read in part: “We trod the path of death for your lives’ sake.”
Several days earlier, Faiz Abu Smala, a journalist with close ties to Hamas, wrote on his Facebook page about a meeting with the local commander of Hamas’s military wing: “He admitted to me that they were still working night and day, around the clock, and that the battle they faced would be a matter of the utmost importance, of life and death, and that they had no alternative but to work under all conditions.”
The seven Hamas operatives who were killed were not the first victims Hamas’s tunnels have claimed during their post-2014-war construction and reconstruction. Last month, one of Gilad Shalit’s captors was killed inside a tunnel that collapsed near Khan Yunis. According to sources in Gaza, 12 other Hamas operatives were killed in tunnel collapses last year.
According to the commander, Hamas has already restocked its rocket supply and is ready for a new war. He also said that in the next round of fighting, Hamas would operate “inside the territory of 1948.” This was a broad hint that Hamas plans to engage in terror attacks inside Israel using, among other means, its new and restored cross-border tunnels.
Some might say that these are empty threats of the kind that Hamas makes every so often. But a close look at what is happening right now in the Gaza Strip gives the opposite impression: 18 months after the last war, someone in Gaza is preparing the ground on the public level, and making preparations below ground on the military level, for large-scale escalation leading to another conflict with Israel.
The question is when and under what circumstances.
The numbers throw into sharp relief Hamas’s determination to rehabilitate its tunnel project, which was badly damaged during Operation Protective Edge: Hamas has more than 1,000 people working around the clock, six days a week, to dig more and more attack tunnels under the border and into Israel. The inclement weather has not slowed the pace of the work, as the incident in Tufah demonstrates. This is because the tunnel project is deemed central, since Hamas believes it can use the tunnels (among other weapons) to carry out an “opening strike” that will give the impression of victory in any future round of fighting with Israel.