Identifying Hamas tunnels and countering the threats they pose is "at the top of the IDF's priority list," Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Gadi Eisenkot said Tuesday.
Speaking at an annual conference in Herzliya, Eisenkot said most of those efforts are "are hidden from view." But he did say that the IDF deployed nearly 100 engineering vehicles on the border with Gaza "working in a focused way" to "sabotage, and reach all underground shafts."
Israel destroyed 33 cross-border tunnels during the 2014 war with Hamas, however the terrorist organization continues to devote significant resources in rebuilding them to facilitate terrorist attacks against Israelis.
"Hamas has chosen to invest many resources into rebuilding this capability against the State of Israel. A large portion of their money goes to building underground capabilities," Eisenkot said. "We are activating technological and engineering efforts. We have the most advanced capability in the world, and [yet] this is still a very big challenge."
Nevertheless, 900 trucks carrying goods cross into Gaza daily.
Eisenkot's comments come as a Hamas terrorist was killed in another tunnel collapse in Gaza's Khan Younis – the fourth reported tunnel collapse in recent weeks. Hamas officials confirmed last week that two terrorists were killed in a tunnel collapse. Seven more terrorists died repairing an older, damaged tunnel late last month.
In January, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh promised that the terrorist organization would never cease to build underground tunnels and enhance its weapons arsenal in preparation for a future war with the Jewish state.