The Israeli army has revealed aerial imagery of what it says are civilian buildings built on top of tunnels where hostile Hamas military activity is underway in the northern Gaza Strip. In the face of the tunnel threat, the IDF is accelerating the construction of its subterranean barrier on its border with the Gaza Strip.
In a conversation with reporters on Wednesday, the IDF's GOC Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, said that the images prove Hamas continues to operate in residential areas with the intent of taking advantage of a civilian environment to protect its forces.
Tunnel opening found under a residential building in al-Shati (Photo: IDF)
"We will turn the tunnels into a death trap in the next war," Zamir warned. "Whoever is inside these buildings is endangering himself and his children, and this entire building is a legitimate military target and has entered our bank of objectives."
"The barrier against the Gaza Strip will be built even if it means fighting a justified incursion against Hamas," Maj. Gen. Zamir added. However, he emphasized that expediting the construction of the barrier is not intended to spark a war, but that the IDF would not shy away from another confrontation should Hamas leaders choose to launch one.
According to the IDF Blog, the Army has uncovered "two terror tunnel openings located in civilian homes, linked to a network built for the purpose of infiltrating Israeli territory and attacking Israelis.
"The tunnel openings were found beneath residential buildings in northwestern Gaza. The first, a six-floor building constructed in the past two years, belongs to a citizen of the al-Shati area, situated close to other homes and a gas station. The second belongs to a Hamas-affiliated father of five in Beit Lahia, whose family, brother, and father live above the tunnel opening, which also connects to the “Hope” Mosque next-door."
Tunnel opening found under a family home in Beit Lahia, connected to a mosque (Photo: IDF)