Inside Hamas’ secret underground tunnels where militants plan attacks in Israel

IDF Special Forces commander sends message to Hamas

As Israel plans an armed military invasion into the Gaza Strip to battle Hamas militants, they face a big problem.

Unlike a normal enemy, Hamas works in a complex network of reinforced underground tunnels, built by Islamist organizations and financed and supplied by Iran.

This means that Israel can bomb Gaza all it likes, but they would likely need to deploy hundreds of thousands of troops in order to wipe the organization out.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have long been trying to destroy the huge network of tunnels – called the ‘Gaza Metro’ – since they were established after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Yaakov Amidror, the former head of Israel’s National Security Council, said to CNBC that a ground offensive was needed to defeat Hamas: “We have to destroy Hamas on the ground to find Hamas members within the underground tunnels, in the holes, in their headquarters.”

When asked if the ground operation would come at a cost to Palestinians in the territory, Amidror said that Israeli forces would give them the time and ability to move away from a potential battlefield.

The tunnels run underground throughout Gaza and into Israeli territory, long serving as a launch point for many of Hamas’ attacks.

During the 2014 war with Israel, Hamas used the tunnels to move weapons, enter the Jewish state, ambush IDF soldiers, and return to Gaza.

But it is thought that Hamas has expanded the tunnel network in preparation for their October 7 attacks.

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By 2013, the network had significantly shifted towards targeting Israel, and there were at least three tunnels under the Israel-Gaza border – two of which were packed with explosives.

Now, the underground tunnels cover dozens of miles through the Gaza Strip, reaching the towns of Khan Younis, Jabalia, and the Shati refugee camp. They also stretch into Israel.

Hamas and other Islamist groups in Gaza – including the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine – use the tunnels, saying they are needed for defense and to get around Israel’s strict border controls.

The tunnels are believed to have cost between $30 million and $90 million, reinforced with concrete to protect them from airstrikes.

Hamas first used the tunnels to launch an attack on Israel in July 2014, when fighters used the network to surface near a kibbutz.

At the time, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said the tunnels represented “a new strategy in confronting the occupation and in the conflict with the enemy from underground and from above the ground.”

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