Hamas: Israel has reached "only a fraction" of our tunnels
An Israeli soldier in one of the tunnels that the Israel Defense Force discovered. The Hamas spokesperson, Mushir al-Masri, vowed Hamas would dig more (Jack Guez/ AFP).
Israel has reached "only a fraction" of Hamas's tunnels, Mushir al-Masri, a spokesman for the organization stated in an interview translated by MEMRI and made public on Monday.
"We are convinced that our people are on the brink of liberation," Masri said.
He continued by saying that the "... enemy declared its ground war to destroy the tunnels but [we], the thousands of mujahideen from the al-Kassam Brigades (Hamas military wing) who dug these tunnels with their fingernails say that the... enemy has reached only a fraction of these tunnels - [and we] will dig many more God willing."
Regarding the heavy toll inflicted on Hamas and the Gaza Strip so far by the fighting, Masri claimed, "Even while the battle is being waged, the resistance is recuperating its military losses."
According to an Israel Defense Force (IDF) source, Hamas built the network of tunnels that begin a few kilometers away from the Israeli border, and pass under the frontier, in a bid to enable dozens of operatives to infiltrate the country.
In response, the IDF has used a wide array of firepower and ground units to tackle the challenge of locating and destroying many tunnels. “Hamas has turned tunneling into a national profession. They lean on highly skilled engineers to do this. We’re dealing with all of these threats through close-range combat,” the source added.
The IDF and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office have said that the purpose of Operation Protective Edge and the ground offensive in Gaza is to destroy tunnels and seriously harm the infrastructure of Hamas.
Earlier in July, Hamas attempted a massive attack when 13 Hamas members infiltrated into Israel through a tunnel near Kibbutz Sufa, but were discovered by the IDF and killed. The incident preempted the government's decision to send troops into Gaza and commence the ground incursion.
- Netanyahu vows to destroy all Gaza tunnels
- After Morsi, Egypt closing Gaza supply tunnels
- Hamas responsible for digging 'explosives laden' tunnel under Gaza-Israeli border
- 'Operation Constructive Edge': Gaza looks to post-war aid to rebuild
- Hamas leader: Israel creating obstacles to reach prisoner exchange deal