Skip to main content

Israel to launch major project to block Hamas tunnels

Israel has notified Hamas about the work it plans to start this summer to block the tunnels in the Gaza Strip, in the hope that Hamas will not use this move in order to reopen a military front.
A Palestinian boy walks in a tunnel as he takes part in a military exercise graduation ceremony at a summer camp organised by Hamas's armed wing, east of Gaza City July 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem - RTSJ8Z8
Read in 

In April, Israel transmitted the following message to Hamas via Egypt: By July, Israel will start construction work on an anti-tunnel obstacle project adjacent to the border with the Gaza Strip in order to block Hamas digging cross-border attack tunnels. This is what a Palestinian security source told Al-Monitor. According to the source, the message was intended to inform Hamas that the project is defensive in nature; Israel has no hostile intentions to attack the Gaza Strip. In addition, Hamas was told that the project will involve hundreds of workers and heavy vehicles.

The assessment is that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are worried that a misunderstanding on Hamas’ part regarding the work could lead to another round of violence. The message transmitted via Egypt also included a threat: Should Hamas attempt to harm the workers or sabotage the construction work, Israel’s military response will be harsh. Israel feels that there is a chance that Hamas’ military wing may try to sabotage the construction in order to rescue the apple of its eye: the tunnel project.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.