[Video below.] By Dave Bender
Video footage released on Tuesday showed what Palestinian Authority (PA) security officials said was an underground dungeon Hamas had prepared meant to hide abducted Israelis.
The underground facility, with electricity, piped-in air, running water and waste disposal, served as a bunker intended to not only hold hostages, but also to serve as a command center to hold negotiations over their release, according to the officials, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.
PA officials said the footage was shot in September, 2013, during a raid conducted in the West Bank village of Tzurif, between Hebron and Jerusalem.
The officials claimed that the facility was well-stocked with enough food, water and armaments to hold out “for years,” while negotiations took place.
Meanwhile, as ‘Operation Brother’s Keeper’ entered its fifth day, IDF forces expanded their search for three missing Israeli teens to northern Samaria, entering the Balata refugee camp and the village of Awarta, army officials said.
Some 1,000 troops fanned out and arrested 200 suspects in a series of raids since the operation began last Thursday night, when Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frankel, 16, and Gilad Shaar, 16, were abducted from a hitchhiking post near the Israeli village of Alon Shvut, in the Gush Etzion bloc.
“Hamas is sustaining a series of blows. They understand the price,” an IDF source told The Jerusalem Post. The army has uncovered significant amounts of small arms and weapons in the crackdown.
“I hope everyone can make the calculation of what will occur if things escalate further. I’d say this type of operation represents a calculated risk,” the source told the newspaper.
Watch a video of the dungeon below: