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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 18th March 2016 > GROUND WAR

GROUND WAR

As tensions rise between Israel and the Palestinians, Hamas has started tunneling into Israel again

@yardenas

OFER LIEBERMAN looks at the patch of earth that, on July 21, 2014, was the gaping mouth of a tunnel. On that day, 10 fighters from the Palestinian militants group Hamas traveled through the tunnel from the nearby Gaza Strip and emerged inside Israel dressed in Israeli army uniforms and equipped with guns and explosive belts. Four Israeli soldiers and all 10 Islamists were killed when the Israeli army confronted the militants. “It was horrible,” says Lieberman, the spokesman for the cooperative village Nir Am, which sits just over a mile from the fence that surrounds Gaza.

The attack on Nir Am took place during that summer’s 50-day war between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza. Over the course of the war, 11 Israeli soldiers were killed in attacks by Palestinians emerging from tunnels that extended into Israeli territory. Israel discovered 32 such tunnels during the conflict. A ceasefire deal ended the war, but lulls in the conflict between militants in Gaza and Israel have not historically lasted long. And Hamas is once again tunneling under the fence that separates Gaza from Israel. Political analysts fear that the region could be edging once again toward war.

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