Al-Qassam Member Killed in Tunnel Collapse In Gaza

Palestinian fighters from the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, are seen inside an underground tunnel in Gaza August 18, 2014. A rare tour that Hamas granted to a Reuters reporter, photographer and cameraman appeared to be an attempt to dispute Israel's claim that it had demolished all of the Islamist group's border infiltration tunnels in the Gaza war. Picture taken August 18, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT) - RTR42YKJ

A member of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas Movement, Khaled al-Hour, 22, from al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, died Saturday evening due to the collapse of one of the resistance tunnels, the group said in a statement.

The body of martyr Hour was taken to Shuhada al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah town. The funeral was decided to be held on Sunday at the grand mosque in the camp. Al-Qassam Brigades mourned martyr Hour and said, in a statement, that he died during preparation work of one of the resistance tunnels.

The statement identified the fighter as 23-year-old Khaled Methqal al-Hour from the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, who was reportedly carrying out a military training exercise when the tunnel collapsed.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip Ashraf al-Qidra said that al-Hour’s body was taken to al-Shifa Hospital in the central Gaza Strip.

The incident marked the third tunnel to collapse in the Gaza Strip over the past month.

Most recently, a Palestinian affiliated with the Islamic Jihad movement was killed alongside two others who were injured on July 19, and on July 10, a member of al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad was killed.
A number of Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in the vast tunnel networks that lie below the besieged enclave, which are largely used for smuggling in the coastal enclave’s south and military purposes in the north.

In April and May, Israeli forces claimed to have uncovered the first two tunnels crossing from the Gaza Strip into Israel since Israel’s brutal offensive on Gaza in 2014.

The Hamas movement which governs the blockaded Palestinian territory has been allegedly reconstructing a vast tunnel network intended to be used for carrying out attacks on Israeli military targets and civilians, swathes of which were destroyed during the war.

Israeli officials have accused Hamas of “preparing” for another war with Israel and have threatened retaliatory measures against the Gaza Strip as a whole. However, despite Hamas’ inflammatory rhetoric against Israel, the movement has not officially claimed responsibility for any military action from Gaza against Israel since the 2014 war.
While the tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and inflow of weapons from the south, they also supply highly-demanded necessities for Gazans — who have been trapped under Israeli siege for a decade — including food, medicine, and much-needed infrastructure materials.

The Institute for Palestine Studies reported in 2012 that Hamas authorities had counted 160 deaths inside the tunnels since the Israeli blockade began in 2007, and in August 2014, al-Jazeera reported that figure to be as high as 400.