An Israeli army officer during an army organized tour for journalists in a tunnel said to be used by Palestinian terrorists for cross-border attacks. (photo credit:REUTERS)
Local government officials in towns near the Gaza border reported on Sunday receiving complaints from residents who say they hear digging underground.
“We have relayed these complaints to security officials who are looking into it,” one source told The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew-language sister publication Ma’ariv. “According to the complaints, the digging hasn’t stopped for a moment.”
The complaints come less than a day after Israeli warplanes launched reprisal raids against targets in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian Islamists in Gaza fired a rocket into Israeli territory earlier on Saturday. Earlier last week, at least two rockets were fired at Gaza frontier towns.
Local residents believe that the next round of fighting is simply a matter of time.
“We knew this would repeat itself, this trickle of missiles,” said Eran Zomer, a 27-year-old resident of the moshav of Amioz. “Very simply, the IDF didn’t do the job the last time.”
“I’ve also heard of many residents in the area complaining about hearing digging, so we weren’t surprised that a senior Hamas official said their people continue to prepare offensive tunnels,” he said. “I hope that next time [the army] will properly deal with the tunnels in a timely fashion instead of waiting until 14 terrorists pop out from underground.”
Israelis who were forced to leave their homes in Gaza Strip settlements in 2005 said that the disengagement plan is to blame for the current state of affairs.
“I keep saying this again and again,” said Eliezer Auerbach, the chairman of the Gush Katif residents’ council. “It’s been 10 years since we were expelled from Gush Katif, and the leadership in this country - some of whom are alive, some of whom are dead - promised us we would be safe. Since coming to Gush Katif, we’ve absorbed 6,000 mortar bombs and even Qassam rockets, and we didn’t complain.”
“They promised that there would be quiet in the South and the entire country,” he said. “But since we left Gush Katif, there have been three large-scale campaigns - Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense, and Protective Edge. In the last year, we have seen a trickle of missile fire and the digging of tunnels, and we may be on the verge of another military operation.”
“The local residents here say that the terrorists are continuing to dig tunnels,” he said. “The country’s leadership doesn’t see the situation.”
“Anyone with a brain knows where the trucks filled with cement entering the Gaza Strip are going,” he said. “The bottom line is that the ones who paid the price are the 8,000 people deported from Gush Katif, this after we gave away a beautiful piece of land to murderers. In fact, we got nothing in return.”