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April 18, 2016 7:50 pm

With Exposure of Hamas Terror Tunnel Into Israel, Residents of Communities Near Gaza Border Express Alarm, Anxiety

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Unearthing a Hamas terror tunnel, with a shaft in Israel. Photo: Channel 2/Screenshot.

Unearthing a Hamas terror tunnel, with a shaft in Israel. Photo: Channel 2/Screenshot.

Residents of Israel’s Gaza-border communities expressed alarm at Monday’s revelation of the discovery of a terror tunnel extending from the Hamas-controlled enclave into the Jewish state, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.

“Gaza is about a kilometer and a half (less than a mile) behind me,” Kibbutz Kfar Aza resident Yonatan told Channel 2, as he documented the short and threatening distance separating the terrorist outpost from his home. “Today, the discovery of a tunnel shaft was revealed; the other side is continuing to arm itself and the sense of a lack of security among the residents here continues to be high.”

Yonaton was referring to the ongoing anxiety that his neighbors in the area have been experiencing prior to, during and since Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s war against Hamas in the summer of 2014, the purpose of which was to eliminate the rocket and tunnel threats, neither of which has been entirely eradicated. And over the past several months, as Hamas repeatedly released videos warning that it was planning missions to kidnap and kill Israelis, the residents along the border claimed to have been hearing digging and other construction-related noises under their houses – something that the Israel Defense Forces have investigated, but to no avail so far.

“We trust the IDF to locate all the tunnels, but we are also realistic, and we know that it’s virtually impossible,” Yonatan told Channel 2.

Kerem Shalom resident Daniel stressed the concern felt by his neighbors that terrorists would enter their community through a tunnel. “We understand what can happen,” he said, pointing to the greater worry about the many children among them whose lives could be in danger.

After the terror tunnel was revealed, the heads of the local councils of the Gaza-border communities issued a joint statement.

“The discovery itself presents us with a complex reality,” the statement said. “The detection of the tunnel makes it clear that there is good reason for our sense of heightened alert. On the other hand, we are grateful to the defense establishment… This important discovery constitutes only the beginning of the mission, [however]… [But] we will go about our daily routine, while placing our faith in the defense establishment.”

According to Hebrew news site nrg, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Monday, “The uncovering of the Hamas tunnel along the Gaza border by Israeli security forces is an important operational achievement, and the result of wide-ranging Israeli efforts over the past few years. We are under no illusions about Hamas’ intentions…The mostly covert mission to locate and unearth tunnels involves the work of the best of our security forces, the Shin Bet and also our military industries. Searching for the tunnels is our top priority.”

Watch the terror tunnel being unearthed below:

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