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Three Hamas tunnels in Gaza collapse amid Palestinian claims of Israeli flooding

Hamas official confirms, then denies, tunnels reach into Israel

Mideast Palestinians Egypt Border Crackdown

 

In one week three Hamas tunnels in the Gaza Strip collapsed. Two of them on Wednesday evening after Hamas buried two fighters killed in a tunnel collapse on Tuesday.

The Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip said the two men killed in Tuesday night’s tunnel collapse belonged to its armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

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Concern grows in Israel over the rebuilding of underground passageways that could be used for attacks. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that “if we are attacked from tunnels from the Gaza Strip, we will take very strong action against Hamas.”

According to Al Qassam, drilling machines on the eastern border were filmed looking for tunnels amid claims that Israel is pumping waste water in the vertical drilling method into the ground and flooding tunnels.

A tunnel collapse caused by bad weather on January 26 killed seven Al-Qassam militants.

On Friday after Haniya highlighted the growth of new tunnels.

But Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official, on Wednesday toned down the rhetoric with a statement on the Hamas website denying comments attributed to him that the tunnels had already reached into Israeli territory.

“The resistance tunnels are defensive tunnels for the protection of our people in the face of any Israeli aggression, ” he said.

Israel destroyed a large number of tunnels in the 2014 Gaza war, the third conflict to hit the Palestinian enclave since 2008.

Staff with agencies

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