Members of Hamas’s Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades are starting to refuse orders to dig underground tunnels, which have mysteriously collapsed one after the other in recent months as the Palestinian terror group attempts to rebuild the network of cross-border attack tunnels that Israel destroyed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
In an open field east of Khan Younis on Thursday, a tunnel being dug by the al-Qassam Brigades collapsed, killing 31-year-old Muhammad Musa al Astal, Hamas said. Palestinian media quoted senior Hamas officials who confirmed that an additional five tunnel diggers were missing. Thursday’s tunnel collapse was the seventh such incident in recent months.
Following the latest collapse, photographs of “advanced technological equipment for the detection of tunnels” began appearing on Palestinian websites, with one Hamas website claiming that the “Zionists are worried there are tunnels underneath their communities near the border fence.” But the terrorist group has never officially said that Israel is responsible for the collapses.
“The Zionists are nervous,” an anonymous member of Hamas told Israel Hayom. “They’re afraid the tunnels are underneath their homes, and because of their fear they are using very advanced tools to locate and collapse the tunnels. I know of those [Hamas members] who have been sentenced to harsh punishments for refusing to take part in the [tunnel-digging] effort. This is a serious offense, and the punishment for it is extremely severe.”