Hamas has killed dozens of diggers responsible for its extensive tunnel system in past weeks, fearing the workers would reveal the site locations to Israel, a report on the Mako website’s army blog says.
The tunnelers, many of whom constructed the tunnels over the course of months, would dig for 8-12 hours a day, and received a monthly wage of $150-$300.
Sources in Gaza say Hamas took a series of precautions to prevent information from reaching Israel. The terror organization would blindfold the excavators en route to the sites and back, to prevent them from recognizing the locations. The tunnels were strictly supervised by Hamas members, and civilians were kept far from the sites.
M., a former tunnel digger and Israeli collaborator, tells the website that Hamas would strip search the workers to ensure they had no recording devices or cameras hidden on them.
“The people we met had their faces covered, no one knew them by their real names, it was all codes and first names. They didn’t want to take the risk that some of the diggers were collaborating with Israel,” he says.
After the tunnels were completed, dozens were reportedly executed to prevent intelligence leaks to Israel.
“Anyone they suspected might transfer information to Israel on the tunnels was killed by the military wing,” a different source says. “They were very cruel.”
A 2012 Journal of Palestine Studies article claims 160 Palestinian children were killed while working on Hamas’s tunnel system.