Report: At Least 15 Hamas Tunnels Extend Into IsraelScreen Shot 2017-02-28 at 1.51.11 PM
On Sunday, Israel’s Channel 2 reported that Hamas, the terror group in the Gaza Strip, has at least 15 tunnels that extend into Israel. According to The Times of Israel, the Channel 2 report quoted unnamed sources within Israel’s high-level security cabinet. The report came just two days before the scheduled release of a state comptroller report on the 2014 Gaza war, which leaked copies show Israel’s army has failed to adequately prepare for the threat of tunnels.
The 2014 50-day campaign against Hamas in Gaza is known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge. It began as an aerial campaign in response to Hamas’ repeat rocket attacks, but later changed to be more of a subterranean-focused campaign after it was revealed the terror organization was using tunnels to enter Israel and carry out attacks.
According to The Times of Israel, about 34 tunnels were ruined during the campaign, but Hamas has since invested in rebuilding their underground network of tunnels. IDF officials and Israeli politicians have been speaking out about the success of Operation Protective Edge ahead of the release of the state comptroller report in an attempt to win over public opinion.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former defense minister Moshe Yaalon and former IDF chief Benny Gantz have all spoken out ahead of the Gaza War report.
“Unlike the controller’s report, I support the heads of the IDF, Shin-Bet and defense establishment who protected and continue to protect the citizens of Israel. Our soldiers and officers fought with all their souls and the people of Israel are proud of them,” Netanyahu said.
Yaalon wrote a post on Facebook in preparations for criticism the report might receive.
“In the next week, you’re going to hear a lot about Protective Edge,” Yaalon wrote. “They’ll say that we didn’t know, that we didn’t tell them, that we didn’t report to them. And the biggest lie of all? That we weren’t prepared and we lost. That’s nonsense.”
Gantz said during the last campaign the intelligence they had was “excellent” but “not always perfect.”
“During Protective Edge, there was intelligence that was excellent, terrific, accessible, but not always perfect. I am ready to go to the next campaign with the same intelligence that we had in the last one,” Gantz said.