The entrance to a tunnel exposed by the Israeli military is seen on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas has reportedly begun repairing its network of underground infiltration tunnels damaged in the summer war with Israel, Israel Radio cited unnamed Palestinian sources as saying.
According to the report, Hamas has been reinforcing its tunnel offensive used against Israel by means of diverted cement and building materials that recently entered Gaza for reparation efforts following Operation Protective Edge.
The sources said that while the majority of construction materials have reached their intended destinations for use in rebuilding private home, Gaza's ruling Islamist group has obtained a share, Israel Radio reported.In October
, truckloads of cement and steel rolled into the Gaza Strip for the first time in a year.
In light of fear that incoming construction material would end up in the hands of Hamas, the UN brokered a deal with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to create a monitoring mechanism to ensure that material are not diverted to Hamas for use in rebuilding the tunnels Israel destroyed during the summer conflict.
That mechanism – which went into operation during UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Gaza in mid-October – is designed to allow an estimated 60,000 homes that were damaged or destroyed to be rebuilt. The material is earmarked for both the private and public projects, as well as those organized by the international community.
Israel, which controls the sole commercial crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, at Kerem Shalom, banned most building materials from entering the area in October 2013.
It did so for security reasons after it uncovered a large tunnel through which Hamas had planned to attack Israel.Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.