|Kevin Frayer/Associated Press A Palestinian tunnel digger, wearing a mask to conceal his identity, removes sand in a bucket from a tunnel underground in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on the border with Egypt, in this photo taken late Wednesday.|
Israel’s military has determined that the new Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip is constructing tunnels into the Western Negev region of Israel.
According to Israeli military sources, Hamas plans to use the tunnels for commando raids of military and civilian targets in Israel.
Up to 20 tunnels have been dug from the eastern, northern and southern Gaza Strip into Israel.
“The tunnels will be used when they are ready for a war or are ordered to conduct a mass-casualty strike,” a military source said.
On Tuesday, the Israeli army discovered and blew up a tunnel in the northern Gaza Strip that reached an Israel Army base. The military determined that the tunnel, which contained a generator, spanned 700 meters and originated in the heavily populated Gaza village of Beit Lahiya.
Hamas has been working with the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) to construct tunnels into Israel, the sources said. In June 2006, Hamas and PRC dug a tunnel into an Israel army base and captured Cpl. Gilad Shalit.
Israel Intelligence Report Claims U.N. Resolution 1701 Has Been Compromised
In a declassified report released this week, Israeli intelligence sources claim that U.N. Resolution 1701, the cease-fire decision that ended last year’s war in northern Israel, “has been only partially implemented, and the most essential provisions have been left unattended,” namely:
1) South Lebanon was not demilitarized and Hezbollah and the other terrorist organizations remained and were not disarmed.
2) Iran and Syria continue replenishing Hezbollah’s arsenal and rehabilitating its military force.
3) The arms embargo has not been effectively enforced, and weapons are steadily smuggled into Lebanon from Syria.
4) No significant progress has been made in the issue of the abducted IDF soldiers.
The report warned that once Hezbollah has completed its military rehabilitation, it is liable to change its terrorist policy and renew its attacks against Israel.
The report also states that the process of rehabilitating Hezbollah’s military force was carried out with massive Iranian and Syrian support, in direct contravention of Resolution 1701. “Both states are clearly interested in strengthening Hezbollah and using the organization to further their own interests in both Lebanon and the entire region. As far as both are concerned, upgraded Hezbollah military capabilities in Lebanon will enable the organization to defend itself and will also have an offensive option against Israel when the time comes, in accordance with Iranian and Syrian interests.”
Israeli intelligence notes that “the large rocket arsenal Iran and Syria gave Hezbollah is meant to be used, when the time comes, to exhaust Israel through continued attacks on population centers deep within the country, combined with terrorist attacks” and that “during the past year Iran and Syria did not encourage Hezbollah to renew its attacks against Israel so that it could complete its rehabilitation unhampered and perhaps even out of the fear lest the rocket option be used prematurely (as it was in the second Lebanon war).”
In conclusion, the report warns that “the rehabilitation of Hezbollah’s military force again poses a new rocket threat for Israel.”
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2007