Zionist Union MK: New Hamas Tunnels May Cross Into Israel

MK Omer Bar Lev, a point man for the Zionist Union on security issues, says militants have resumed tunnel activity, calls on IDF to fight proactively.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Zionist Union MK Omer Bar-Lev
MK Omer Bar-Lev.Credit: Oren Nachshon
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Zionist Union MK Omer Bar-Lev said Sunday that Hamas has renewed its digging of attack tunnels from the Gaza Strip, and that one or more of these tunnels may have already crossed under the security fence with Israel.

Bar-Lev, a member of the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee and a point man for the Zionist Union on security issues, called on the Israel Defense Forces during the Israel Bar Association's conference in Eilat to operate against this phenomenon to prevent another war from breaking out.

"We cannot repeat the failure on tunnels from the eve of Operation Protective Edge," Bar-Lev said. "If I were defense minister, I would order the IDF to go out tonight on an operation to destroy the renewed tunnels."

Failure to act against this threat will encourage not just Hamas, but Hezbollah too, said Bar-Lev.

"There is a moral justification, and even a moral obligation, to operate proactively against every tunnels that crosses the border line," added the MK.

Gaza Division officers have reported over the last few months seeing digging within just a kilometer and a half from the Gaza border. According to these officers, it is not clear whether these are "preparations for the next round," or reconstruction of tunnels destroyed during the summer war. "Operation Protective Edge began with the goal of destroying the tunnels, and now they are saying – here we are, building again," a senior officer said.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said last month that Hamas is continuing in its efforts to strengthen itself – including testing rockets within the Gaza Strip and digging tunnels. Ya'alon said that the defense establishment has not seen any tunnels cross into Israeli territory, but added that "we are prepared for the possibility that somebody will try to come out of an opening and the ground and we will have to discover him."

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