Israel destroys new Hamas tunnel network in Gaza

Extensive Hamas tunnel network in Gaza points to Israeli intelligence failure. (AFP)
Updated 19 March 2018
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Israel destroys new Hamas tunnel network in Gaza

JERUSALEM: The Israeli military said on Sunday it destroyed a tunnel built by the Hamas militant group.
Military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the new tunnel was intended to connect to an old one that Israel partially destroyed in the southern Gaza Strip during the 2014 war, in what appears to be the first case of Hamas trying to “recycle” part of its devastated network.
Conricus said Israel has been following Hamas’ progress for some time and that the targeted tunnels will now be impossible to rebuild. Conricus called it a “futile effort” by Hamas and a waste of resources that could be used to aid Gaza residents. The coastal territory had been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas took over in 2007.
Israel has placed a high priority on halting the tunnel threat since Hamas infiltrated Israel during the 2014 war. Although they did not manage to reach civilian areas, the infiltrations caught Israel off guard, with one attack killing five soldiers, and terrified the local population.
This marks the fourth such tunnel Israel has destroyed over the past four months. The operation followed Israeli airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza over the weekend in response to bombs planted along the border that were detonated in an attempt to harm Israeli troops.
“Hamas has invested billions in its tunnel project and now it is sinking in the sand,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said. “I suggest Hamas invest its money in the welfare of the people of Gaza because by the end of the year its entire tunnel project will be destroyed.”
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called the Israeli action a further escalation that would not achieve its goals.
Israel has been hard at work erecting an ambitious subterranean barrier to detect and prevent attack tunnels. Israeli military officials say the secretive project will be a major deterrent against what Israel has seen as a strategic threat since the last war against Hamas.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008. During the most recent conflict in 2014, Israel destroyed 32 tunnels.


Israel locks down Ramallah after two soldiers shot dead

Updated 14 December 2018
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Israel locks down Ramallah after two soldiers shot dead

  • The bloodshed began when Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians
  • Hours later, a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded a third

AMMAN: Israel was accused on Thursday of humiliating Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by placing Ramallah on virtual lockdown amid a 24-hour outbreak of violence in which five people died.

The bloodshed began when Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians suspected of earlier attacks. Salah Barghouti, 29, was accused of shooting seven Israelis on Sunday at a bus station near the Ofra settlement. Ashraf Naalwa, 23, shot two Israelis dead in the Barkan industrial zone settlement in October.

Hours later, a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded a third when he opened fire at the Ofra bus station.

Israeli forces chased the gunman into Ramallah, where they set up road blocks, launched raids and placed the town under virtual siege. In the hunt for the gunman, a Palestinian was shot dead in Al-Bireh neighborhood of Ramallah.

Abbas Zaki, a leading Fatah official, told Arab News Palestinian frustration was being fueled by Israel. “They barged into Ramallah in violation of existing agreements and came very close to the home of President Abbas.

“What more do people need to see to let them give up on a process when Israelis are willing to humiliate in such a way the father of Palestinian peace?”

Abbas himself condemned the anti-Israeli attacks but blamed Israeli raids as a potential cause.

“The climate created by the policy of repeated intrusions into the cities, the provocations against the sovereignty of the president and the lack of a horizon for peace are what led to this unacceptable violence that we condemn and reject,” he said.