Gaza border residents renew complaints of underground tunnel digging

Fears of resumed underground infiltration network construction by Gaza terrorists come amid reports that 8 Hamas operatives were crushed in a tunnel collapse.

Hamas terror operatives in Gaza tunnel (photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas terror operatives in Gaza tunnel
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Residents of various Israeli communities along the southern border of the Gaza Strip have renewed complaints of reverberating, underground drilling sounds possibly linked to the construction of infiltration tunnels by Palestinian terrorists, Channel 10 reported Tuesday night.
The residents told the Israeli news channel that at first they believed the middle of the night excavation sounds were caused by rain storms that hit the country earlier this week, however when the sounds desisted at 4 a.m. they realized their source was not the precipitation.
One resident, Tzila Pitusi, said it felt as if someone was breaking into her home.
"We started hearing things like concrete cracking, we felt that the concrete was rising up. We heard booms and bangs from the kitchen," another local, Esther Naim, told Channel 10.
In light of the reported issue, the southern Eshkol Regional Council head Gadi Yarkoni called on the government to act quickly to remove the threat that could lead to the possible infiltration into Israel by Gazan terrorists.
"Nowadays, the IDF knows exactly what it wants and the prime minister, defense minister and finance minister have to pass a budget to build a barrier," Channel 10 quoted him as saying. "Let's do this early, so that afterward we don't say 'why didn't we do this.'"
According to the report, an IDF official responded to the complaints, saying that after examination it was determined that no underground tunnels existed in Israeli territory.
Meanwhile, an overnight report by Israel Radio citing Palestinian sources said at least eight Hamas militants were killed digging underground tunnels after heavy rains northeast of Gaza City caused the tunnel to collapse.
According to the media reports, the militants were killed during the tunnel's collapse and were buried alive.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza spokesman denied the reports, claiming no bodies were brought to the hospital from the tunnel collapse. On Saturday, the ministry reported that a Hamas militant was killed in a tunnel collapse in Khan Yunis.
It has been estimated that Hamas has been steadily rebuilding its military terrorist infrastructure since Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, including the restocking of its rocket arsenal and the digging of attack tunnels.