Hamas operative reported to be killed in Gaza tunnel collapse
Jack Guez/Pool via AP
A member of Hamas’s military wing was said to have been killed on Sunday when a tunnel collapsed in the Gaza Strip, according to reports by Palestinian media.
The individual was identified as Thaer Nayef al-Zaraei, a member of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
The tunnel was said to be located near Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. It was not clear if it’s purpose was deemed for attacks into Israel or if it was part of Hamas’s defense efforts inside the coastal enclave.
Only a few weeks ago, Israel said that it destroyed the “longest and deepest” tunnel it had discovered so far, penetrating several meters into Israeli territory. The army said the "attack tunnel" in the Jabalya area burrowed "tens of meters" into Israeli territory towards the border community of Nahal Oz, and was connected to a network of other tunnels burrowed under the Palestinian enclave.
The IDF said that the tunnel was the fifth such tunnel detected and destroyed by Israel in recent months.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Hamas was sinking "millions of dollars" into "tunnels to nowhere" at the expense of the Gazan people.
The tunnel collapse on Sunday comes to the background of rising tensions along the Israel-Gaza border for the past four consecutive weeks coined the “March of Return.” Since March 30, tens of thousands of Palestinians have surged the fence demanding the right to return to their ancestral homeland after leaving or being forced out in 1948, when Israel declared its independence.
Militants have thrown explosives, Molotov cocktails and rocks at soldiers, the army said, and on Friday introduced a new tactic of flying flaming kites across the fence. Several attempts were said to made by Palestinians to penetrate the fence, but none were successful.
The Gaza Health Ministry says 39 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the demonstrations, with some 445 injured, including 96 from live fire. The dead include a journalist, and five other reporters suffered bullet wounds during the second week of protests despite wearing "press" vests as well as 15-year-old Mohammad Ibrahim Ayoub.
Israel has been slammed for its use of live fire with the UN, EU and Israeli opposition accusing the military of employing disproportionate force against those who do not pose a threat. Defending its use of live fire, Israel claims Hamas has hijacked the protests for its own ends and has accused the group of fabricating video footage.
Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon urged international organizations to condemn the Islamic militant Hamas group for its use of children as a conceal for terror-related activities.
Protests are set to climax on May 15, the day US President Donald Trump said he would inaugurate the newly-relocated US embassy in Jerusalem. It also coincides with the celebration of Israel’s independence as well as Palestinians ‘Nakba Day’ (‘The Catastrophe’).
The Palestinian Authority said on Friday that it would ask the UN Human Rights Council to set up an independent inquiry into Israel’s military killing of Palestinians during the protests. Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador said he would not accept an Israeli investigation as “it cannot be credible.”
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Hamas wasting the money on tunnels. spend the money on the poor Palestinian refugees in Gaza.