Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Monday said that no underground tunnels from the Gaza Strip have so far been located beneath Israeli homes in the South, despite recent complaints by residents in communities near the Gaza border of hearing renewed construction noises under Israeli territory.
In an interview with Israel Radio on Monday morning, Ya’alon noted that security forces were checking every related report by residents in the Gaza periphery.
The defense minister also blasted opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) for accusing the government of inaction on continued reconstruction of the Palestinian tunnel network destroyed by Israel during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
“It’s also possible to strike the hundred thousand rockets that Hezbollah has or Iran’s hundreds of missiles, but judgment and responsibility must be exercised,” Israel Radio quoted Ya’alon as saying in response to Herzog’s call for action.
On Sunday, Herzog made the call during a visit with regional council leaders.
“What are the prime minister and defense minister waiting for? For terrorists with guns drawn to emerge in a kibbutz or moshav?” he asked.
The opposition leader called for the government to “stop hesitating” and provide a serious, public response to the citizens.
A resident of Pri Gan near the Gaza border, Nissim Hakmon, told Reuters Monday that he and his neighbors hear banging and clattering at night.
“The fear among everyone here is constant,” Hakmon said. “I’ve heard the sound of a hammer and chisel and my neighbor says she can hear them digging under the cement. We’re stressed out.”
Underground infiltration by gunmen from Gaza “is something we know deep inside is just a matter of time, even though we tell the kids everything is okay,” Hakmon said.Lahav Harkov, Herb Keinon and Reuters contributed to this report.