Israel’s Shin Bet security service said that information about the tunnel system came from the testimony of a 17-year-old Hamas member who was stopped by Israeli troops in May this year after he illegally crossed into Israel from Gaza.
The 17-year-old belonged to the Beit Lahiya Battalion in the northern Gaza Strip, and “most of his activity was in the field of tunnels”.
Through his testimony, Israel learned “Hamas is working to construct tunnels that are linked to combat tunnels throughout the Gaza Strip”, the Shin Bet said.
The statement continued: “Hamas has dug a extensive network for moving fighters around the Strip exclusively underground. This network of tunnels includes rest quarters for use by elite unites in time of emergency”.
During the Operation Protective Edge conflict in Gaza in the summer of 2014, Israel uncovered and destroyed 32 cross-border tunnels, through which Hamas planned to infiltrate Israel to carry out terror attacks. Cross-border tunnels were used in the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.
According to reports from Israel last month, Hamas is siphoning 95% of the cement transferred into Gaza intended to rebuild homes, so that it can be used to build terror infrastructure such as the tunnels.