Hamas: Underground barrier is a “declaration of war”

Hamas warned Israel against constructing an underground barrier on the Gaza border, threatening retaliation and claiming it to be a “declaration of war”.

The underground barrier, which will be built on the Gaza border with Israel and Gaza border with Egypt will also extend into the Mediterranean Sea. The barrier will include smart, sensory technology to detect tunnel construction.

Hamas warned Israel that the construction of the barrier as an “declaration of war”, the terrorist organization threatening the Israel releasing the statement “This is a declaration of war. We will not allow the occupation to carry out its plots and crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza, and we will prevent the construction of this barrier by all means… The entry of the occupation army’s troops and equipment into the Gaza Strip to carry out this work is tantamount to a military incursion into Gaza and Hamas will respond accordingly. We will not sit idly by and we will respond with force the likes of which Israel has never known.”

Israel responded, warning Hamas that it had “mapped Hamas assets hidden under civilian sites in Gaza”, stating “The location of the tunnel shafts in these buildings is intended to disguise them under civilian cover. In wartime, these exploited locations become legitimate military targets under international law.”

Israel announced it would begin constructing an additional underground barrier on the border with Egypt to prevent ISIS from infiltrating Israel through the use of tunnels earlier this month. The latest project is the same subterranean barrier currently being constructed on the border with the Gaza Strip.

The underground barrier on the border with Gaza is Israel’s third defense barrier to be constructed on the border. The first barrier was constructed post-Oslo Accords in 1994, the second following the disengagement from the Strip in 2005. During the disengagement, over 8,500 Israeli, Jewish citizens were pulled from their homes as an effort for resuming peace negotiations with the Palestinians. The Gaza Strip was then taken over by Hamas. Since then, Israel has been subject to rocket attacks and terror tunnels into Israeli territory for over a decade.

In February of this year, Egypt destroyed a Hamas smuggling tunnel from the Gaza Strip into the Sinai Peninsula. The Egyptian military located and destroyed the tunnel that went 20 meters underground. The tunnel was used for smuggling weapons, had oxygen tanks and was wired for outside communication.

In January of 2017, Egypt destroyed 12 smuggling tunnels from the Gaza Strip into the Sinai Peninsula.

This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, August 13, 2017, and reposted with permission.