Hamas is digging attack tunnels as part of its efforts to create a terrorism
infrastructure against Israel for future attacks, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon
said Sunday, adding that Israel is concerned by the threat and is acting to
Speaking at the Soroka University Medical Center in
Beersheba, where he was visiting IDF soldiers wounded when a Hamas tunnel bomb
went off during an army demolition mission over the weekend.
added that Israel views Hamas as the sovereign entity in the Gaza
“It is the one digging tunnels and controlling Gaza,” Ya’alon
said. “We say again: Quiet will be met with quiet. All provocations will
be met with a firm response by us. We’ll continue to act as we’ve acted
Ya’alon added that there is a connection between events in
Gaza in recent days and Israel’s negotiations with the
“Hamas is certainly deterred and that’s why it is
maintaining quiet, even after this operation. But it is preparing itself
for the moment it decides to renew violence and an escalation,” he
These preparations include a local production program to
manufacture arms, since Hamas is unable to smuggle in weapons from Sinai due to
Egyptian counter-terrorism activities and Egypt’s destruction of smuggling
tunnels, Ya’alon said.
“Other organizations are also manufacturing
[weapons] by themselves and the tunnels are part of these future preparations,”
Ya’alon said. “When the tunnels will be ready, Hamas will attack us, that’s why
we’re acting to thwart all of the intentions,” he added.
comment directly on reports that Israel struck a facility housing missiles
destined for Hezbollah in Syria last week, but stated: “We’re not intervening in
the bloody civil war and we are continuing to stress the same red lines that are
known. We talk about them publicly too.
Not to allow them to transfer
weapons from Syria to hostile elements, especially Hezbollah in Lebanon. Not to
transfer chemical weapons to those same hostile elements, not to break the quiet
on the Golan Heights, not to violate our sovereignty.”
Hamas is digging
tunnels, Ya’alon said, because it is facing great difficulties in carrying out
terror attacks on Israel due to the IDF’s strong defense system around the Gaza
Strip. Hamas’s rockets are intercepted by Iron Dome and the terror regime pays a
heavy price after firing its rockets, he argued.
“Hence, it is going
On Friday, the commander of the IDF’s Southern Command,
Maj.-Gen. Sami Turgeman, visited the soldiers in the hospital and warned Hamas
that any attack on Israel would be met by a “painful response.”