The IDF will activate in the coming days a new detection system for underground tunnels running between the Gaza Strip and Israel, a senior Israeli military official said on Tuesday, according to Israel’s Channel 2 news.
Marking one year since the launch of last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, the IDF official told reporters that the new system had recently been deployed along the Gaza Strip.
He said none of the 32 terror tunnels dug by Hamas that were destroyed during the 50-day operation have been rebuilt. Nonetheless, the official said, Hamas is searching for new routes to dig tunnels towards Israel.
Destroying Hamas’ underground tunnel network — which the group used for terror attacks against Israeli targets along the border — was one of the main objectives of the IDF operation.
Hamas has long used smuggling tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt’s Sinai to smuggle weapons and other goods restricted by Israel’s security blockade. Since the end of hostilities last summer, the group has been seeking new smuggling routes, especially as Egypt has recently ramped-up efforts to stymie smuggling along the Sinai border, the IDF official said.
The source also made note of ties between Hamas and Islamic State-affiliated groups in Sinai, which recently launched a series of deadly attacks against Egyptian forces. He said Hamas had provided training for the Egypt-based terrorists and assisted them in smuggling weapons into Sinai.
In addition to the Sinai terrorists’ connection to Hamas, he also noted that the Islamic State-affiliate was working to drag Israel into a larger confrontation with Egypt.