Arrested Hamas operative giving Israel details on tunnels

2016-05-05 23:04


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Jerusalem - A Hamas operative has been providing Israel with detailed information about the militant group's tunnel network since his arrest last month, security services said on Thursday, as another underground passage was discovered.

Mahmud Atawnah, 29, from Jabalia area of northern Gaza, was captured at the beginning of April after crossing the border fence into Israel, the Shin Bet security service said in a statement.

Since then Israeli forces have uncovered two separate tunnels crossing the border, including one on Thursday.

Shin Bet said Atawnah was a member of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, for 10 years and took part in various activities but was primarily involved in the tunnels.

Atawnah was arrested with two knives in his possession, and "intended to murder soldiers or civilians he would encounter in Israel”, Shin Bet said in a statement.

A Shin Bet spokesperson told AFP Atawneh provided investigators with "a lot of information on the Hamas tunnel industry”, including the digging methods and materials and use of homes and institutions as starting points for the tunnels.

Some of the tunnels were to be used "for attacks and during wars with Israel”, Shin Bet said in the statement.

The announcement came hours after the Israeli army said it had uncovered a Hamas tunnel stretching under the border, following a similar discovery in mid-April, amid a new flare-up in violence along the frontier with the Palestinian enclave.

Hamas has an extensive network of tunnels inside the Gaza Strip, including those allegedly reaching into Israel and Egypt.

Israel sees them as a strategic threat and Israeli media have reported alleged technological breakthrough in finding them.

Atawneh was charged on Thursday at the Beersheba district court with a number of felonies, including being a member of Hamas and training with it, conspiring to commit a crime, possessing weapons and crossing the border.

Read more on:    hamas  |  israel

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