Tunnel collapse kills two Hamas men

Terror group's military branch confirms deaths, vows to continue digging offensive tunnels.

A tunnel collapsed on Tuesday in the central-southern area of the Gaza Strip, killing two members of Hamas's military branch, an official statement from the group said on Wednesday.



The statement also promised that the group would continue digging attack tunnels.


Sources in Gaza reported the collapse in the Nusayrat refugee camp to Ynet on Tuesday, but officials would initially neither confirm nor deny this. They did, however, affirm that a Palestinian was killed "in an event in the center of the Strip". Announcement of a second death soon followed.


Hamas operatives inside a tunnel (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)
Hamas operatives inside a tunnel (Photo: Reuters)

The dead men were identified as Ahmed A-Zahar and Fuad Abu Atiwwi. According to the reports, eight additional people were wounded in the incident.


A week ago the collapse of an additional tunnel was reported in the Tufach neighborhood in the north of Gaza City. After a day of silence, Hamas officially admitted that the tunnel indeed collapsed and that people were missing. According to a statement by the military branch, contact was lost with the tunnel unit's squad as a result of the tunnel collapse caused by stormy weather. However, Hamas avoided publishing the number of missing persons on whom the tunnel collapse.


Ahmed A-Zahar, one of the two men who died in the collapse
Ahmed A-Zahar, one of the two men who died in the collapse


Earlier this week, IDF forces were using engineering equipment at the Gaza border in order to detect tunnels. Concurrently, classified technological means for the detection of tunnels are being installed.


The IDF has been drilling and looking for Hamas tunnels for more than a year, each time at a different location on the border. Residents in settlements along the Gaza border have become increasingly concerned about Hamas's tunnels .


The IDF sent a message to the settlements' representatives that the working assumption, as has been published, is that Hamas is digging attack tunnels and continues to prepare for the possibility of escalation. The military is thus using a process of elimination, checking areas in order to rule them out as possible tunnel locations.


Despite the recurring claims of residents in the Gaza vicinity of suspicious noises heard from deep underground, so far no offensive tunnel has been discovered in Israeli territory since Operation Protective Edge. However, engineering teams review each complaint on its merits.


פרסום ראשון: 02.03.16, 11:15
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