As the IDF continues to search for tunnels in northern Israel, residents of Sderot in southern Israel have complained to the IDF about noises that they have been hearing from under the ground. The noises, according to residents, are of digging and excavation – indicating that Hamas may be building a terror tunnel right under the city. The army said that it would check out the claims.
“You can hear echoes of hammering; it sounds far away but it is definitely there,” one Sderot resident was quoted in Maariv as saying. Another resident said that “you can hear it distinctly at night. In our house it was so loud that it woke up the kids.” Sderot is about a kilometer from the closest point in Gaza where Hamas could dig a tunnel.
In recent years, residents of communities in the north have complained about noises that they, too, claimed sounded like tunnel digging – but many said that their claims were dismissed by the IDF. That was not the case, former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said; Israel was aware that Hezbollah was actively building terror tunnels since at least 2014. But in 2016, Yaalon denied on numerous occasions that there were any tunnels. The reason for that denial, he told Army Radio in an interview, was to mislead the enemy. “I didn’t want them to know what we knew,” he said.
As over a dozen Hamas terror tunnels have been uncovered already, there is no reason not to publicly follow up on the current reports. In a statement, the IDF said that “a professional team has been dispatched to investigate the reports. The IDF will continue to check out all requests and concerns, along with our efforts to build a blockade and institute measures that will neutralize the terror tunnels, as so many have been neutralized until now.”
In a statement, the Sderot Municipality said that “we want to thank the residents for their awareness and their contacting us and the army. Every complaint on this matter will be checked thoroughly. So far, no tunnel has been found reaching into Sderot. The city is continuing its normal operations.”