Hamas Tunnel System Rivals Viet Cong’s Cu Chi Underground

A massive tunnel system running from Gaza to the Egyptian border has long served Palestinians as a supply line for everything from livestock and construction materials to stocks of medicine and smuggled electronics equipment. But now, as war rages in the area, the tunnels have become the main route for providing the Hamas terror group with the weapons it needs to fight against Israel.

Dismantling the tunnels in Gaza is a key to winning the war for Israel, which has sworn to eradicate them. But military experts and historians say destroying them will be virtually impossible.

The tunnel system is strikingly similar to the Viet Cong’s infamous Cu Chi tunnels during the Vietnam War. The Viet Cong moved weapons and supplies through their tunnels, and, like Hamas, they hid their top leaders in them as well.

The Viet Cong — a technological underdog to the United States — was able to bridge the firepower gap against a world superpower through sheer cunning and ingenuity. The Cu Chi tunnels were a vast network of underground sleeping quarters, weapon storage facilities, war rooms and fighting positions. Guerrillas dug out makeshift medical facilities beneath the earth, and doctors tended to wounded soldiers in them, often using electricity generated by a bicycle.

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Hamas in the eyes of an expert

Khaled Hroub, author of several books on Hamas, including Hamas: A Beginner’s Guide, talks to Al Jazeera about the organisation’s social and political strengths and explains why he believes Hamas is looking forward to an Israeli ground incursion into the Gaza Strip.

Al Jazeera: Two senior Hamas leaders were recently killed in Israeli air strikes. How will this impact the organisation’s leadership?

Khaled Hroub: Hamas’ leaders are very used to hiding and escaping Israeli attacks. I can’t see this affecting Hamas much. Israel succeeded in assassinating very senior Hamas leaders including Sheikh [Ahmed] Yasin himself, the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, then followed by Abdel Aziz Al-Rantissi who was the main figure in the Gaza Strip.

And yet Hamas continued to rise and succeeded in winning the elections. So I can’t see Hamas being weakened by killing one or two or three or even more leaders in the Gaza Strip.

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Hamas control of Gaza reaches one year

Hamas: Jews planned the Holocaust

Jewish leaders concocted the mass murder of handicapped Jews in order to keep from having to support them, and this murder is what the Jews term “the Holocaust,” according to a documentary special that aired on April 18 on Hamas’s Al Aqsa television station.

Palestinian Media Watch located and translated the contents of the footage, which it uploaded to YouTube under the headline “Hamas: Jews planned Holocaust.”

According to the documentary’s narrator, Israel’s first prime minister David Ben Gurion decided that Jewish “disabled and handicapped are a burden to the state,” after which “the Satanic Jews” – the film cuts to a picture of a hassidic Jew – “thought up an evil plot to be rid of the burden of disabled and handicapped” – the film then cuts to piles of emaciated corpses – “in twisted criminal ways.”

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Palestinian groups agree on truce

Several Palestinian factions have accepted, in principle, to a ceasefire with Israel.

A Palestinian official has said that 11 small groups agreed in Cairo on Wednesday to proposals that include a six-month truce, a prisoner exchange and reopening of the border between Gaza and Israel.

Israel will now be asked if it accepts the proposal.

The truce, if it is implemented, will initially take effect in Gaza, with a view to being extended to the West Bank.

Egyptian security officials mediated the talks with the factions, including Islamic Jihad, but not Hamas or Fatah, who control Gaza and the West Bank respectively.

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Fourteen-year-old girl killed in Israeli raid

Hamas ready to accept 1967 borders

Hamas has said it is ready to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders but “will not recognise Israel”.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Khaled Meshaal, the exiled Hamas political leader, reaffirmed Hamas’s stance towards Israel and clarified his comments as relayed earlier by Jimmy Carter, the former US president.

Meshaal said: “We accept a state on the June 4 line with Jerusalem as capital, real sovereignty and full right of return for refugees but without recognising Israel.”

The Hamas leader was making his first public comments following two meetings with Carter in Damascus last week.

Carter, speaking in Jerusalem earlier on Monday, said that Hamas had told him it would accept the right of Israel “to live as a neighbour” if a peace deal was approved by a Palestinian referendum.

Carter said Hamas leaders had told him they would “accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders if approved by Palestinians”.

But Carter also said Meshaal turned down his appeal for a unilateral ceasefire with Israel to end violence threatening peace efforts.

“I did the best I could on that,” Carter said of his failure to persuade Hamas to halt rocket fire from the Gaza Strip it has controlled since June last year when it ousted the Fatah movement of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.

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