newsIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

IDF checking possible terror tunnel near Hebron

"We found a tunnel here that looks exactly like the Hamas infrastructure we are familiar with from the Gaza Strip," an army reservist said.

Israeli soldiers at the scene of a car ramming attack in the Hebron Hills, May 14, 2020. Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90.
Israeli soldiers at the scene of a car ramming attack in the Hebron Hills, May 14, 2020. Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90.

The Israel Defense Forces are investigating a possible terrorist tunnel that soldiers discovered near Jewish communities in the Hebron Hills in Judea.

In a viral video shared to social media earlier this week, an IDF reservist claims that “after a long period in which residents of Telem and Adora in the West Hebron Hills heard digging noises,” troops were sent to inspect Palestinian structures in the area of Khirbet Tayibe.

“To our surprise, in addition to illegal construction, we found a tunnel here that looks exactly like the Hamas infrastructure we are familiar with from the Gaza Strip—only this is in the Palestinian Authority,” said the reservist. 

The soldier then lowered himself some five meters (16.5 feet) into the shaft, revealing several subterranean chambers that could be used for hiding illegal weapons or terrorists.

The shaft was located a few hundred yards from Telem, a community of some 80 families northwest of Hebron.

In a statement shared with JNS, the IDF said that “security officials treat the issue with due seriousness,” adding that “the subject is being monitored and examined to rule out terrorist involvement.

“Upon receiving the report, professionals were sent to inspect the opening in the ground. From a preliminary examination, it appears that it is probably in preparation for a septic tank for rainwater,” the IDF said.

In a message to local residents, the military vowed it would “continue to monitor and investigate the issue, along with carrying out many offensive activities and a strong defense of the axes and communities in order to protect the residents of the sector and the citizens of the State of Israel.”

There are currently no changes to guidelines for residents or in the situational assessment, the message added.

Yishai Fleisher, the international spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron, told JNS that “the region of Hebron is surrounded by enemies and the city of Hebron is mostly ruled by Hamas.

“We have to stay vigilant; this is just another step in our efforts. Not every tunnel is a terror tunnel, but we will check every tunnel and ensure the safety of our communities,” added Fleisher.

Last week, the IDF announced it was looking into complaints by residents of Bat Hefer, a village east of Netanya, of tunneling sounds coming from the direction of P.A.-controlled areas. Residents said they heard tunneling originating from Shuweika, a satellite village of Tulkarm.

In addition, since Hamas launched its war against the Jewish state on Oct. 7, residents of the Binyamin region of Samaria have reported an accumulation of artificial hills between the towns of Shilo and Ofra, in a possible sign of heavy digging by Palestinians in the area.

Hamas in Gaza makes extensive use of terror tunnels as does Hezbollah in Lebanon, whose plot to invade Israel was foiled in late 2018 when the IDF carried out “Operation Northern Shield.”

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