Israeli forces have found 800 shafts leading to Hamas’ vast subterranean network of tunnels and bunkers since a Gaza ground operation began on Oct 27, and have destroyed more than half of them, the military said today.
Hamas declared prior to the ongoing eight-week conflict in the Gaza Strip that it possessed an extensive network of tunnels, spanning hundreds of kilometers—a scale likened to that of the New York subway system. These tunnels served dual purposes, functioning both as protective hideouts and operational bases.
This characteristic made them susceptible targets for Israeli airstrikes utilizing penetrating munitions. Additionally, Israeli army engineers employed advanced tactics, deploying mapping robots and a specialized explosive gel capable of being introduced into the labyrinthine passages.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Reuters reports, the IDF acknowledged, “The tunnel shafts were located in civilian areas, many of which were near or within civilian structures, including schools, kindergartens, mosques, and playgrounds.” This disclosure underscored the military’s perspective on the strategic placement of these tunnels within civilian environments.
Summarizing the progress of anti-tunnel operations, the statement followed a series of frequent briefings to the media by troops. These soldiers reported the discovery of access shafts strategically embedded within civilian sites, providing insights into the complex nature of the ongoing conflict.
Out of approximately 800 identified shafts, the military disclosed that 500 had been obliterated through various operational techniques, including “detonation and sealing off.” Furthermore, the destruction extended to encompass “many miles” of crucial tunnel arteries, disrupting the intricate network’s core infrastructure.