On a moonless night, masked terrorist maneuver through the shadows. One by one, they enter an innocent-looking house, open a carefully concealed hatch and lower themselves deep beneath the ground. Built over months, or even years, the tunnel may extend for a kilometer or more. As the squad of terrorists moves swiftly but silently through the concrete-lined walls, they cross under the border and near their objective. Submachine guns, grenades, landmines and rocket-propelled grenades are readied. Hoods and plastic handcuffs – to be used to restrain hostages – are distributed. As the last few meters of earth are evacuated, the terrorists appear to relish the thought of the mayhem they are about to unleash. In an instant, they emerge from the ground, smack in the middle of a community of innocent civilians.
Does this sound like the trailer to the latest summer blockbuster? Unfortunately, this is no Hollywood script. This is the reality facing the thousands of Israelis living near the border with Gaza.
The Hamas terrorist organization, which rules the Gaza Strip, has invested great sums of money and enormous amounts of precious concrete to engineer a network of cross-border terror tunnels.
Their goal? To attack Israeli communities, to massacre civilians and to kidnap Israelis for use in blackmailing the government into releasing convicted terrorists.
Residents of southern Israel tell what it is really like to live knowing that at any moment a group of terrorists could suddenly emerge from the earth beneath their homes and communities.