Hamas shows off rebuilt Gaza tunnels in new video

A year after war with Israel, Gaza rulers boast of revitalized efforts to prepare its fighters for the next round of violence

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The military wing of the Islamist Hamas terror group released a video on Wednesday apparently showing renewed cross-border tunnel infrastructure in the Gaza Strip as well as a range of military equipment and techniques for targeting IDF forces.

Published by the group’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades military wing exactly a year after a ceasefire brought to an end a 50-day war between Hamas and Israel, the short clip begins with a large excavator digging into the sandy ground common to many areas in the Gaza Strip.

With rousing Arabic music playing in the background, the footage moves on to various scenes showing armed men in camouflage fatigues praying before battle, moving through concrete-lined tunnels, emerging from beneath the ground, and using rifles, sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenades to engage targets including buildings and what appears to be an IDF tank.

Hamas fighters are also seen practicing tending to wounded comrades in the tunnels, storming mockups of IDF army posts, ambushing IDF patrols, and pretending to shoot soldiers.

Earlier this month, Israel’s Channel 10 reported that the IDF had confirmed that “not a small number” of cross-border tunnels have recently been dug by Hamas under the border into Israel, including one in the area of the Kerem Shalom border crossing.

According to the report, Israel has “information” on the tunnels, and has troops “working around the clock” to grapple with the threat. However, Israel prefers to wait rather than send troops into the Hamas-held Gaza Strip to tackle the tunnel network there, because it knows that if it does so, it will trigger another war.

The new Hamas war efforts have been buoyed by Iranian assistance, including cash, military training for Hamas fighters, weaponry, and electronics equipment, some of which can be used to counter drones, the report said.

During July and August 2014, the IDF battled in Gaza against Hamas-led Palestinian terror groups. One of the main goals of the operation was to destroy a network of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border with Israel that were used to launch a series of deadly ambushes within Israeli territory.

At the end of July Hamas claimed to have dug a new fortified attack tunnel stretching into Israeli territory.

The attack tunnel was said to be 3.5 kilometers long and would be used in the “next round” of violence with Israel, masked Hamas operatives told Al-Alam, Iran’s Arabic-language channel.

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