Palestinians walk inside a tunnel in Gaza City, July 21, 2016
Hamas has dismissed the latest Israeli accusations that the Palestinian resistance movement has dug tunnels underneath civilian sites in the Gaza Strip, saying that the accusations are meant to justify Tel Aviv’s atrocities in the blockaded coastal enclave.
Last week, Major General Eyal Zamir, the head of the Israeli Southern Command, claimed that Hamas was purposefully constructing tunnels under civilian structures in Gaza to cover its activities there.
He also provided satellite images and geographic coordinates of what claimed were militant emplacements hidden under Gaza civilian sites.
The Israeli general further described the sites as “legitimate military targets,” warning, “We will turn the tunnels into a death trap in the next war.”
In a statement released on Monday, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem rejected Zamir’s claims and said, “Such lies and rumors are part of the failed occupation policy and psychological war to influence the morale of the Palestinian people, and an attempt to legitimize crimes that may be committed against civilians in Gaza.”
Qasem called on human rights groups to “do their duty to expose the intentions of the Zionist occupation and its plans to deliberately target unarmed civilians.”
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.
Tel Aviv has waged three wars on the coastal enclave since 2008, including one in 2014, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.
Israel claims that Hamas uses the Gaza underground tunnels to stockpile weapons and infiltrate into the occupied lands.
The resistance group, however, says that the tunnels are needed to transfer essential supplies, including food and fuel, into the besieged Palestinian territory.
Israel is building a 64-kilometer-long wall around Gaza to prevent what it claims to be tunneling into the occupied territories.
(Source / 15.08.2017)