Tags: hamas | smuggling | tunnels | israel | defense forces | gaza | egypt

IDF: Hamas Uses Tunnels for Defense Against Israel, Gaza Control

By    |   Monday, 30 October 2023 10:07 AM EDT

Israel Defense Forces on Thursday confirmed that a significant amount of weapons and ammunition for Hamas were obtained via smuggling through tunnels that connect Gaza to Egypt.

While Israel has focused a large amount of attention on Iran's efforts to bring weapons to Hezbollah via Syria and to Hamas via smuggling attempts by sea or through the official crossings, it may be that the extensive smuggling tunnels under the "Palestinian connection" connecting Gaza and Egypt have been ignored.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had built hundreds of tunnels with rapid transfer infrastructure until the Egyptian government began to secure the border in 2013, using carts that would move on rails with an electric motor. However, instead of putting a stop to the smuggling activities altogether, the Hamas government began to tax smuggled goods, and even took control some of the tunnels for its own purposes.

The military wing of the Hamas terror group later began to create an extensive system of tunnels to smuggle terrorist operatives, weapons, ammunition, military equipment, vehicles, and the raw materials necessary for the production of weapons, such as rockets.

When the Egyptian government began to secure the border in ten years ago, including digging down about 32 feet in depth and placing barricades to prevent future tunnels.

The IDF is reportedly concerned that these measures were not sufficient to stop tunnel construction.

According to a Hebrew language report from Walla! News, Israeli military forces and the Shin Bet security agency are concerned about the use of terror tunnels, allowing Hamas terrorists to exit Gaza near the Israel-Egypt border, thereby opening another battlefront.

In addition, Israel has ongoing concerns that Hamas terror leaders could attempt to flee to Egypt through the tunnels if the IDF ground campaign in Gaza proves successful.

This concern was behind the previous IDF bombing near the Rafah Border Crossing between Gaza and Egypt, according to the Walla! report, which is why it was hoping to collapse any Hamas tunnels constructed in the area.

Richard Goldberg, senior adviser for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), said, "The United States has long turned a blind eye to Iranian smuggling through Egypt to arm, equip, and train Hamas. Like everything post-Oct. 7, we need a reset on how we view the Egyptian-Gaza border and how we will work with the Egyptians to shut down illicit smuggling routes."

The Hamas tunnel network is used to transport military assets, store supplies, and to train personnel without being detected by the IDF. The terrorists even used telephone lines installed in the tunnels to communicate without being detected by Israeli surveillance.

The underground network is believed to be hundreds of miles and to cross the Gaza Strip. It is believed that Hamas has been digging tunnels across the borders with Egypt and Israel.

The tunnels are also the location where the captives taken in the Oct. 7 invasion are reportedly being held.

Yocheved Lifshitz, one of the hostages released last Monday, said the captives were being kept in underground tunnels, which she described as "a spider's web."

She also said that Hamas terrorists provided them with food and supplies from the underground stockpile.

A recent New York Times article noted that Hamas has been stockpiling supplies, food, fuel, and weapons for years.

The terror group has little incentive to share those stockpiles with its own civilians, as it prefers to use the humanitarian disaster that the Gaza population is currently facing to increase pressure on Israel by claiming the war crimes are being committed.

The Israeli government has repeatedly stated Hamas is the governing body of the Gaza Strip and the moral obligation is upon the organization to provide for their citizens, not Israel.

This article originally appeared on All Israel News and is reposted with permission.


Israel Defense Forces on Thursday confirmed that a significant amount of weapons and ammunition for Hamas were obtained via smuggling through tunnels that connect Gaza to Egypt.
hamas, smuggling, tunnels, israel, defense forces, gaza, egypt, border, iran, weapons
Monday, 30 October 2023 10:07 AM
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