IDF checking Sderot residents’ reports of digging sounds from ground
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IDF checking Sderot residents’ reports of digging sounds from ground

Army says it is looking into locals’ concerns over new tunnels from Gaza, but no evidence found so far

An Israeli army officer looks at a destroyed Palestinian Islamic Jihad tunnel, leading from Gaza into Israel, near the southern Israeli kibbutz of Kissufim, January 2018. (Jack Guez/AFP/POOL)
An Israeli army officer looks at a destroyed Palestinian Islamic Jihad tunnel, leading from Gaza into Israel, near the southern Israeli kibbutz of Kissufim, January 2018. (Jack Guez/AFP/POOL)

The Israeli military’s Gaza Division is investigating recent reports by Sderot residents of possible digging sounds coming from deep in the ground, Hadashot TV news reported Tuesday.

Hundreds of residents have reported hearing strange sounds which they fear could be digging. “It’s like a sort of echo,” one resident said. “You feel that it’s far away but it sounds like hammer strikes…it’s really scary.”

Another resident said her son had been woken by the noises and that others had reported similar concerns.

The IDF said it was looking into the reports and has so far not found evidence of tunnel digging in the area, but the examination was ongoing.

Israeli soldiers stand guard in Nahal Oz, southern Israel, near the border with Gaza, November 12, 2018. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

Hamas’s underground attack tunnels dug under the border into Israel first gained major attention during the 2014 Gaza war, when many of them were used to carry out attacks. Israel destroyed around 30 tunnels during the war. Prior to that conflict residents in the Gaza periphery had often reported hearing digging sounds emanating from the ground.

Since the war Israel has demolished at least 15 tunnels. It is in the process of constructing a massive barrier that reaches deep underground along the border to block tunnels.

Similar reports of digging noises were made by northern residents in recent years, and on December 4 the military launched Operation Northern Shield, acknowledging that Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group had dug multiple tunnels under the border in order to carry out future attacks. So far four passages have been uncovered, with more expected.

The army has since revealed some of the technology used to uncover such tunnels, including use of a seismometer to monitor underground activity.

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