How Israeli forces carried out ‘Guardian of the Walls' secret mission to destroy 300 miles of £170m Hamas terror tunnels

ISRAELI forces revealed for the first time the details of their secret mission to destroy 300 miles of the vast network of Gaza tunnels used by Hamas.

Known as Operation Guardian of the Walls, the mission involves Israeli jets firing missiles at the tunnels destroying the passages beneath the city.

The £170 million tunnels, known to Hamas as the 'Metro', have been used by the organisation to hide weapons as well as its guerrilla fights and senior commanders.

The tunnels are reportedly connected to launch pits where rockets have been fired from towards Israeli areas.

According to the Times, the tunnels are equipped with a communication network that can withstand bomb attacks and are split into five interconnected sections.

The plans for Operation Guardians of the Walls have been long in the planning with former Major General Herzi Halevi leaving a file of ideas for his successor following his promotion to commander of Israel's southern front.

This operation, which involves nights of blasting airstrikes at Gaza, was one of those ideas.

So far 60 miles of the tunnels have been destroyed.

On May 14, Israeli forces buried Hamas leaders alive by tricking them into bolting underground then blitzing their network of tunnels.

Commanders tweeted that an attack on the Gaza Strip was under way at the same time that a bombardment from jets, tanks and gunboats erupted.

Hamas fighters scurried to grab hidden weapons to prepare for an expected surge of Israeli troops.

But the tweet was fake, and devastating bunker-buster airstrikes then rained down on 150 targets.

Scores are believed to have died as the tunnels were smashed by 450 missiles in 40 minutes.

On Monday Israeli airstrikes reportedly destroyed the homes of nine Hamas leaders and a network of the "terror tunnels".

The Israeli air force claimed that Monday's strikes killed Hussam Abu Harbid, the commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Northern Division.

Harbid was responsible for rocket attacks against Israel – including those launched last week, according to the Israeli air force.

He had been a commander in the PIJ for around 15 years.

The IDF shared a video showing the moment they launched a strike on Harbid.

They tweeted: "This is the moment we targeted Islamic Jihad Northern Division Commander in Gaza, Hussam Abu Harbid.

"As an Islamic Jihad commander for 15 years, he was behind rocket launches, shootings, and anti-tank missile attacks on Israel.

"He won't be committing any more terrorist attacks."

According to reports, an airstrike on the tunnel system in Gaza on Sunday caused civilian houses to collapse, causing unintended civilian casualties.

“The underground military facility collapsed causing the foundation of the civilian houses above them to collapse as well, leading to unintended casualties,” the Israeli military said in a statement.

The military said it “aspires to avoid civilian casualties as far as possible.

"But Hamas bears responsibility for intentionally locating its military infrastructure under civilian houses, thus exposing civilians to danger.”

In 2016, the Israeli military constructed a barrier along the Gaza Strip to counter the sprawling subterranean tunnels built by Hamas.

"Israel has sought to find a technological or physical answer to the cross-border tunnels for over a decade," the Times of Israel wrote in an editorial in 2016.

"Israeli security thought it had adequate intelligence about Gaza. It was in for a surprise.

"It was not just the labyrinth of tunnels discovered, much more extensive than expected, but the stockpiles: thousands of weapons, Russian antitank missiles, explosive devices, and large amounts of tranquillisers, handcuffs, syringes, ropes. The tools of capture on a large scale.

"Some of the tunnels are very deep, big enough to hold vehicles."

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