Tunnel Collapse Kills Tenth Hamas Militant in Two Weeks

Militant was doing construction work in Khan Younis tunnel when he was killed, Hamas says.

Palestinian militants pray by the bodies of seven Hamas member killed repairing a tunnel during their funeral at a mosque in Gaza City, Friday, Jan. 29,

A tunnel collapse in the Gaza Strip claimed the life of another Hamas militant on Tuesday, the tenth fatality as a result of tunnel accidents in recent weeks. 

According to the Hamas' military branch, 27-year-old Marouan Maarouf was killed while repairing a tunnel in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. 

On Tuesday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot called the Hamas tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel the IDF's top priority, and said that the army is "making great efforts, most of them hidden from the public eye," against them

"We have the most advanced capabilities in the world but it’s still a big challenge. We don’t let the fact that it’s quiet in the south deceive us,” Eisenkot said at a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.

Eisenkot also responded to a story that aired this week on TV Channel 2 news, according to which Education Minister Naftali Bennett had recommended a pre-emptive strike to address the threat posed by the tunnels – a suggestion apparently rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.

“The question of whether this is the correct move or not should be discussed in the appropriate forums for such discussions,” the chief of staff said in response.

Two Hamas fighters, including a field commander, died last Tuesday in a tunnel in central Gaza, according to an official report released by the militant group the following day. The week before, seven Hamas members were killed in a tunnel that collapsed due to weather conditions east of Gaza city.