Israeli infantry soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip unearthed at least 22 tunnels and killed 40 terrorists in the first day of the IDF's ground incursion into the Hamas-ruled enclave, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said on Friday.More at the link. This is what the "disengagement" enabled. And unless these tunnels are destroyed, the operation will be a failure, as an expert explains:
The military released pictures of the tunnels on its Twitter account. Israel has stated that it seeks to destroy Hamas' network of tunnels that are used to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.
Unless the Hamas tunnel threat is eliminated Operation Protective Edge will be a failure and Israeli citizens on the front lines will remain in mortal danger, the head of the Eshkol Regional Council said Sunday.The IDF has now taken to demolishing the tunnels, and they must ensure that every last one of them collapses, or they could even be used for smuggling weapons in from Sinai.
"This is not a matter of if you're on the right or left, this is a situation that was forced upon them [Eshkol region residents]. They see no joy in the attacks in Gaza but they were forced into this," Eshkol Regional Council head Chaim Yellin said Sunday.
On Thursday over a dozen gunmen infiltrated into Israel near Sufa in the Eshkol region, and on Saturday, another infiltration was foiled near the Eshkol town of Ein Hashlosha. On Sunday, the IDF announced that they had found another tunnel, this one dug deep into Israel underneath Nativ Haasarah in the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council.
The threat has become so instilled in the minds of residents that many report hearing the sound of digging underneath their houses late at night. Yellin said when these complaints are made, the IDF is called to investigate and the sound usually turns out to be from an animal or local infrastructure, if it is found at all. Yellin said that at the moment the residents of the council's 15 kibbutzim and 13 moshavim are facing different levels of danger based on their location. In the communities closest to Gaza as much as 75% of the residents have relocated to areas farther from the Gaza Strip and the rockets, mortars, and tunnel threat, while those farther from Gaza for the most part remain. He said in some of those communities farthest from Gaza as much as 85% of people remain.