UN: Hamas terror tunnels not helpful for rebuilding of Gaza

Even the UN concedes that Hamas’ terror activities Gaza only serves as a detriment to the residents of Gaza.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

A terrorist emerges from a tunnel in Gaza. (Khaled Omar/propaimages)

A terrorist emerges from a tunnel in Gaza. (Khaled Omar/propaimages)

The UN Mideast envoy says threats by Hamas to continue building tunnels into Israel do “not help” reconstruction efforts in war-battered Gaza Strip.

Nikolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, spoke on Wednesday during a visit to Gaza. He toured the Shijaiyah neighbourhood, one of the hardest hit areas in the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel.

His remarks appeared to be a veiled criticism aimed at the Islamic Hamas terror group.

Hamas has built a sophisticated network of tunnels that it has used to penetrate Israel to carry out terrorist attacks on civilians and soldiers. Israel destroyed most of the tunnels during the summer of 2014, but Hamas has since worked vigorously to rebuild the network, many times at the expense of Gazans, from whom they steal building materials, which they use for military build-up.

Hamas officials have pledged to continue building tunnels along the Israeli border, even after recent collapses killed 10 Hamas fighters.

“The resistance factions are in a state of ongoing preparation underground, above ground, on land and sea,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh boasted at a rally honoring seven of the dead killed while digging the terror tunnels.

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“East of Gaza City, heroes are digging through rock and building tunnels, and to the west they are experimenting with rockets every day. The resistance continues on its path of liberation of the land,” Haniyeh added.

Israel views the tunnels as a top threat.

Speaking earlier this month, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said that the IDF number one mission is to counter the threat posed by Hamas’ attack tunnels emanating from Gaza.

Eisenkot said destroying this network is the IDF’s top priority for 2016, adding that it is not deceived by the relative quiet along the Israel-Gaza border.

Reconstruction in Gaza has been sluggish. Mladenov says only a third of funds pledged by international donors has been received.

Israel has been enabling some 900 trucks of building materials to enter Gaza on a daily basis, but many of the materials are stolen by Hamas. Brig. General Herzl Halevi, chief of the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate, stated on Sunday that Israel allows the entry of materials into Gaza even though it knows that some of the materials are stolen by Hamas and used to build terror tunnels and military fortifications.