Journalist Ruqaya Izzidien spent time in the smuggling tunnels running between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, and recently published an article about the experience in the New York Times. Izzidien, who has written numerous articles for the Muslim Brotherhood’s english language website, claimed in the NY Times that ”the Israeli government views the tunnels as an illegal smuggling route and often targets them in airstrikes, which usually trap and kill workers.”
An Israel Defense Forces spokesman told The Algemeiner that the idea that they target these tunnels on a regular basis is “patently false”, and when the tunnels are targeted, it’s because they’re being used to smuggle illegal weapons.
“In the limited instances when tunnels are targeted, it is because they are used for terror purposes, such as smuggling in the increasingly complex weapons that have expanded the rocket range to over one million Israeli civilians,” Captain Eytan Buchman of the IDF said. ”The tunnel ‘industry’ facilitated this rapid expansion, increasing the range of the rockets ten-fold in under a decade.”
The rockets being smuggled in and out of Gaza are a threat to Israeli security, Buchman said, and this year is an indication of that.
“IDF activity in the Gaza Strip is a method of actively preventing the indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilians; 272 of these rockets landed in Israel this year alone and 627 landed in Israel last year.”
“The claim that the IDF ‘often’ targets these tunnels is patently false,” he said.