Tunnels under the Gaza Strip’s borders have been used to smuggle everything from food to cocaine to cars to feed the Palestinian economy. But Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules over Gaza, has used tunnels to launch surprise attacks on Israeli territory in the past. Now, Israeli residents are saying they hear scratching, hammering, and drilling going on underneath their own homes, and the noises they’re recording sound incredibly creepy.

That Hamas is building ambush tunnels under the Israel-Gaza border (as opposed to the Egypt-Gaza border, where the tunnels are primarily for smuggling), isn’t exactly a secret. Not only were tunnels used in the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006, but to this day Hamas leaders brag about capturing Israeli monitoring equipment in their own tunnels, while Israelis openly publish current tunnel assessments in major newspapers.

What is lesser known is just how far the underground tendrils reach into Israeli territory, and whether or not they’re still active. If sensors detect loud banging and vibrations through the ground, the Israeli military can bet there’s a tunnel there. If the digging is quiet, however, the tunnels can be harder to spot.

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Whether it’s driven by paranoia or by the sounds of yet another impending battle in the endless war that is the Middle East, Israeli civilians are saying they’re starting to hear noises emanating from underneath their homes, the Daily Telegraph reports:

Dalia Levy, the woman who recorded noises on her mobile, asked to be identified by a pseudonym because of her frustration that the military was not taking her claims seriously.

Her husband, who has also heard the noises, recently bought a gun and whenever Israel carries out an assassination in Gaza the family leaves the area, fearing that Hamas may launch reprisal attacks.

But the Israeli military is dismissive of the people who say they’re hearing noises:

“When you are afraid of something you start to see it everywhere. It comes to you in your thoughts and in your dreams,” said Arnon Avni, a spokesman for the Nirim kibbutz near the Egyptian border.

Are the noises real, though? Or are they mass hysteria? Or maybe a mix of both? Well, to some extent, the noises are real, and they’re being recorded on camera:

It’s the same sort of noise you’d hear from either a bunch of small desert creatures eking out a new home under your basement, or the sounds of a horror film. But is that the sound of human tunneling, or animal burrowing? Or is it just a house making funny noises?

We won’t really know until the next conflict breaks out.

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Photo credit: Getty Images


Contact the author at ballaban@jalopnik.com.
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