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Hamas member dies in tunnel collapse

Ahmad Asa’ad Shahada, 23, becomes 24th Qassam Brigades man accidentally killed since last year

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

Illustrative: A Palestinian youth crawls in a tunnel during a graduation ceremony for a training camp run by the Hamas movement on January 29, 2015, in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP photo/Said Khatib)
Illustrative: A Palestinian youth crawls in a tunnel during a graduation ceremony for a training camp run by the Hamas movement on January 29, 2015, in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP photo/Said Khatib)

A member of Hamas’s military wing was killed Monday morning when a tunnel he was digging in collapsed, the Gaza-based terror group said.

Hamas’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades, said in a statement posted on its official website that Ahmad Asa’ad Shahada, 22, from Khan Yunis, “met his lord as a martyr, God willing, after a tunnel of the resistance collapsed.”

Gazan health ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra confirmed Shahada’s death in a statement posted on Twitter.

Hamas, an Islamist terror group which is openly committed to the destruction of the Jewish state, daily continues to train its fighters, build rockets and dig tunnels in preparation for another round of conflict with Israel.

Palestinian fighters from the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades pray near the bodies of seven colleagues killed while repairing a tunnel, during their funeral at a mosque in Gaza City, on January 29, 2016. (Emad Nassar/Flash90)
Palestinian fighters from the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades pray near the bodies of seven colleagues killed while repairing a tunnel, during their funeral at a mosque in Gaza City, on January 29, 2016. (Emad Nassar/Flash90)

Last year, 22 members of Hamas’s armed wing were killed while “preparing equipment,” the majority in a string of tunnel collapses, the terror group said last month.

Shahada’s is the second such accidental death in 2017. Earlier this month, Hamas said high-ranking field commander Muhammad Hemada Walid al-Quqa, 37, died in an explosion while he was “preparing equipment” in the field.

Gaza terrorists have dug dozens of tunnels, many reaching across the border into Israel, to launch attacks in the Jewish state. Israel destroyed many of them during its 2014 war with Hamas, but Hamas has since been rebuilding the network.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008 and Gaza has been under a blockade for a decade, imposed by Israel and Egypt to try to prevent it importing weaponry.

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