Palestinians in Gaza said they received phone calls from the IDF telling them Hamas, which rules the strip, is failing to provide for its people.
In a pre-recorded message in Arabic, Palestinians said the military told them that “the Israeli army warns you against obeying the orders of the terrorist Hamas or having any contact with it,” AFP reported on Friday
“Know that Hamas is spending millions of dollars on tunnels used for hostile and terrorist acts against the state of Israel,” the message went on. “This money should have gone to infrastructure, education and health projects.”
Last week, the IDF revealed that it had uncovered an underground tunnel linking Gaza and Israel, likely intended to facilitate a terror attack or kidnapping attempt inside Israel.
The tunnel, which an official said was particularly wide and about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) long, started in Abbasan al-Saghira, a farming village near Khan Yunis, in Gaza, and terminated inside Israel about three kilometers from Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, in the western Negev.
It was found on October 7, military officials said.
A similar tunnel was used in the 2006 Hamas raid which led to the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the killing of two IDF soldiers. Shalit was held hostage in Gaza for five years.
On Saturday, Hamas marked the second anniversary his release in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, with Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh saying the deal was a “historic achievement.”
The Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) — a coalition of armed Palestinian factions — said that “capturing Israeli soldiers is the effective way and strategy to liberate Palestinian prisoners,” using the Shalit deal as “a reliable example to break the Israeli shackles,” the Hamas-run website Qassam.ps reported on Saturday.
The PRC called for a “national strategy” to free the prisoners.
Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas’s military wing, claimed Saturday that Hamas now has “a greater capacity” to carry out kidnappings.