Hamas is reportedly using more than 1,000 operatives to dig underground terror tunnels in the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported Thursday.
The Gaza-ruling terror group is reportedly smuggling in building materials and excavation machinery, while paying each individual who is digging tunnels between $300 and $400 dollars per month for the work.
Meanwhile, Hamas’s elite terror unit, “Nukhbah,” is conducting drills simulating attacks on Israel through the tunnels. Several members of the unit were killed when some of these emerging tunnels collapsed in recent months.
Israeli officials have said that the money being used for rebuilding Hamas terror tunnels should instead be used to rebuild civilian infrastructure in Gaza. Earlier this week, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which makes sure that cement supplied to Gaza is not used to construct tunnels to attack Israel, suspended the delivery of cement to Gaza after discovering how Hamas was stealing materials from the cement supply that was intended to rebuild destroyed Gaza homes, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s deputy political bureau chief, vowed in February that Hamas will never stop preparing for another confrontation with Israel by digging terror tunnels and upgrading its rockets. Israel had destroyed Hamas’s tunnel network during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry reports that in 2015, there was an increase of more than 120 percent in the amount of goods entering Gaza. That year, a total 139,364 trucks entered Gaza carrying construction materials (more than 3.7 tons), medical equipment, and other goods. On Thursday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced that it will disburse more than $5 million for reconstruction and repair works for 720 Palestinian families in Gaza.
“We regret that Hamas continues to exploit and harm the entire Palestinian population in favor of the personal interests of the organization,” Israel Defense Forces Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said Monday, the International Business Times reported.