Netanyahu Warns Hamas Over Tunnels

Netanyahu Warns Hamas Over TunnelsNetanyahu Warns Hamas Over Tunnels

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the resistance group Hamas that rules Gaza on Sunday that his country will retaliate with “greater force” than deployed in the 2014 Gaza war if cross-border tunnels are used to attack Israel.

Hamas has built a sophisticated network of tunnels to infiltrate Israel to carry out attacks. Israelis living near Gaza have reported hearing tunneling sounds under their homes recently, AP reports.

“We are operating systematically and calmly against all threats, including those from Hamas, both with defensive and offensive means, and of course in the event we are attacked by tunnels in Gaza we will operate with great force against Hamas, with much greater force than what we used in Operation Protective Edge,” Netanyahu said in a speech to diplomats late on Sunday, referring to the 50-day war in 2014.

“I think that is understood in the region, it’s understood in the world. I hope we won’t need to do it but our abilities both defensive and offensive are developing rapidly and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to try us,” he said. A senior Hamas leader boasted on Friday that Gaza’s fighters dig tunnels and test rockets to attack Israel “every day”.

Ismail Haniyeh spoke at the funeral of seven fighters who died this week when a tunnel from Gaza to Israel collapsed while they were repairing it.

He said the tunnels are a “preparation” for war with Israel and Hamas “has built tunnels two times more than Vietnam tunnels”.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius last week said his country will recognize a Palestinian state if its efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at an international conference fail.

In the meantime, a Palestinian was shot dead after an alleged stabbing attack near an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli Army has said. The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed that 18-year-old Ahmad Hasan Tobeh was killed on Monday by the Salit settlement, south of Tulkarem.

Medical sources told Al Jazeera that Tobeh, who is from Kufr Jamal south of Tulkarem, was shot at close range five times.

“Soldiers were alerted by a suspect attempting to infiltrate the area of Salit, east of Kfar Saba,” an Israeli Army statement said.

“When security forces approached the suspect, he tried to stab them, and, facing an imminent threat, the soldiers shot him.”

Protests against Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank, including East Beit-ul-Moqaddas, and the Gaza Strip have become increasingly violent in recent months.