Images obtained by Ynet on Sunday show military forces with engineering tools for locating tunnels working around Gaza-adjacent communities.
This work has been occurring despite the IDF Southern Command's repeated statements that even though Hamas has apparently been renewing its tunnel-digging in the Gaza Strip, these tunnels have not, as far as the military knows, crossed into Israeli territory.
Starting on Sunday afternoon, engineer squads operated in a kibbutz that lies across from the central Gaza Strip. Their engineering instruments drilled into the ground in search of tunnels. The work began after recent claims from some communities that underground noise could be heard during certain hours.
The Southern Command decided to investigate the claims, but the drilling on Sunday evidently did not uncover any tunnels.
The drilling is to continue for a few days in multiple communities in order to confirm that the IDF's assessments are correct – particularly that there has been no indication that Hamas has dug any tunnels into Israeli territory since the end of Operation Protective Edge.
Military sources said the pictures showed infrastructure work that occurs periodically and declined to discuss the matter further.
The specter of tunnels from the Gaza Strip was the main threat to southern communities that led to Operation Protective Edge. The military is aware that Hamas views the tunnel program as a great success.
The military believes, and have even provided evidence, that Hamas has resumed digging tunnels, and senior officers and politicians have said as much. Therefore, despite the relative calm in the south and the assessments that Hamas is uninterested in embarking on another campaign against Israel, the military has remained vigilant.