Palestinian fighters from the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades stand inside an underground tunnel in Gaza August 18.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The tunnel that collapsed east of Gaza City last week is the same one that was used to kidnap IDF soldier Oron Shaul during Operation Protective Edge, Khalil Al-Hayeh, a senior Hamas official, revealed on Sunday.
Seven Hamas members were killed in the tunnel collapse last week; four others survived.
Hamas said that the seven men were members of its military wing, Izzadin Kassam. They were renovating the tunnel that was partially destroyed during the war, Hamas said.
Al-Hayeh denounced UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, who criticized Hamas for building the tunnels.
“The tunnel in which the Al-Qassam men were martyred is the same one that was used to kidnap the Zionist soldier Oron Shaul during the aggression against the Gaza Strip,” the Hamas officials said during a ceremony in Gaza City to commemorate the slain the Hamas members.
“The weapons that we possess are for defending our people and holy sites,” Al-Hayeh said.
“Ban Ki-moon and all the others need to know that these weapons are for self-defense.”
He also accused the UN chief of having previously “justified the crimes of Israeli ‘occupation’ against the Palestinian people.”