UN chief "alarmed" by Hamas intent to keep building tunnels, firing rockets

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Evan Schneider (file)

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday he was alarmed by recent statements from the leadership of Hamas that it intends to continue tunneling, and firing rockets into Israel.

Matthew Wells reports.

On Thursday, the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which controls Gaza, said that seven of its fighters had died after a tunnel they were working on collapsed.

The group has used tunnels on Gaza's borders with Israel and Egypt for transporting goods and weapons, and also to launch attacks on Israel.

During the 2014 Gaza conflict, Israel said it had destroyed dozens of tunnels which crossed its border, but Hamas has been rebuilding.

The Secretary-General said that "recent statements" from Hamas that it would keep tunneling and firing rockets into Israel, put at risk "reconstruction, humanitarian and development efforts" by the international community, Palestinian authorities in the Occupied West Bank, and Israeli authorities.

He added that the defiant statement to continue tunneling was also a "serious disservice" to the "long-suffering people of Gaza".

Condemning terrorism is all forms, he said civilians on both sides of the border, deserved a chance for peace.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 52"

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