Hamas claimed responsibility for 2.5 Km Tunnel
nsnbc , – The Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip has claimed responsibility for a 2.5 Km-long tunnel, leading from an area near Khan Younis to Ein Hashloa. The discovery of the tunnel prompted Israel to refuse 120 trucks entry in the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Abu Salem border crossing. The tunnel should reportedly be used in a military operation for the release of prisoners.
Militants from the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip have claimed responsibility for the 2.5 kilometer-long tunnel on Sunday, reports the Palestinian news agency PNN. The tunnel has been dug underneath the heavily fortified Israeli – Palestinian border.
The Al-Aqsa website of a Hamas operated radio station has published a statement according to which the armed wing of Hamas has claimed responsibility for what it called the Khan Younis Tunnel. PNN reports that a spokesperson for the armed wing of Hamas, Abu Ubaida, has said in a radio broadcast that the movement´s armed brigades have dug the tunnel.
Ubaida reportedly said, that the tunnel had been dug in an effort to try to force Israel to release some of the thousands of prisoners it holds in its jails. In 2011 Israel released 1.400 prisoners in return for the release of the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Shalit was captured in 2006.
PNN reports that Israeli military sources have said that the tunnel has been dug in sandy soil and that it has been reinforced with building materials. The discovery of the tunnel prompted Israel to respond by halting the transfer of all building materials to the Gaza Strip, leading to 129 trucks being refused passage through the Kerem Abu Salem border crossing.
Israel is enforcing an illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip in violation of international law, and the ban on the import of building materials is not the first of its nature. While part of the blockade, such as the ban on certain construction materials, despite being in violation of international law, could be justified by the threat of tunnel construction, Israel has also banned and critically delays other goods. Last month the blockade has led to shortages in life saving, critical medicines in Palestinian hospitals.
The Israeli blockade is having a severe impact on all aspects of life and commerce in the Gaza Strip, leading to food shortages, power outages, and even shortages in education materials for school children. Tunneling and smuggling through tunnels has long been a lifeline for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The blockade on the Gaza Strip has become extra severe after Egypt responded to the infiltration of Hamas fighters into the Sinai peninsula, where Hamas militants backed up militant members of the Muslim Brotherhood, by exploding most of the smuggling tunnels between the Gaza Strip and the Egyptian Sinai.
Ch/L – nsnbc