Tunnel by tunnel, Israel demolishes Gaza underground network in hunt for Oct 7 mastermind

“Beneath us are, according to the Israeli colonel accompanying us, 160 miles of tunnels radiating out from Khan Younis. The scale is staggering. Gaza itself is only 25 miles long and barely seven miles wide.
On Friday morning, a Telegraph reporter and photographer were escorted into a suburb of Gaza’s southernmost city by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) largely to give a better understanding of how the war is being waged.

The tunnels explain Israel’s slow progress. It’s been almost four months since the massacre in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 240 people taken hostage. By Israel’s standards, this is an already overlong war. Since the start of the conflict, more than 200 IDF soldiers have died, including 24 last week on the deadliest day of the campaign for the Israeli military.”

“He likens the tunnels to the London Underground, many of them interconnected but also serving different purposes. “I cannot go into details but today we feel we have a very good solution for the tunnels,” he says.

Incrementally, the IDF has been able to map them out. “Every second or third building has an entrance shaft. It can be in the courtyard or inside the building itself. The network is so extensive. Each tunnel is marked with an icon. They [the marks] are usually by the entrance shaft,” says Lt Col Anshi.

In the street battles in Khan Younis, Hamas fighters can suddenly appear from nowhere. “They jump out with an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade]. We are not fighting an organised conventional army but small squads of four to six fighters. Our main challenge is to shoot them in the few seconds when they are popping out of the hole,” says Lt Col Anshi.

It’s like the fairground game of whack-a-mole, but with dire consequences for the loser. “There is no army vs army like in the old days. It is two terrorists coming out of a hole shooting and we are firing back.”

As we stand discussing the progress of the war, the gunfire coming from the city intensifies. From time to time – every 10 minutes or maybe less – a huge explosion rings out and accompanying smoke, black or dark grey billows into the sky.”


CNN visited the exposed tunnel shaft in the Al-Shifa hospital compound. Here’s what we saw

“Standing on the edge of the tunnel shaft, it was apparent that the structure itself was substantial. At the top, the remains of a ladder hung over the lip of the opening. In the center of the round shaft, a center pole looked like a hub for a spiral staircase. The shaft itself extended down farther than we could see, especially in the meager light of our headlamps.
Video released by the IDF from inside the shaft showed what we could not see from the top of the opening. The video shows a spiral staircase leading down into a concrete tunnel. The IDF said the tunnel shaft extends downwards approximately 10 meters and the tunnel runs for 55 meters. At its end stands a metal door with a small window.

“We need to demolish the underground facility that we found,” said IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari. “I think the leadership of Hamas is in great pressure because we found this facility, and we are now going to demolish it. It’s going to take us time. We’re going to do it safely, but we’re going to do it.”

It is arguably the most compelling evidence thus far that the IDF has offered that there may be a network of tunnels below the hospital. It does not establish without a doubt that there is a command center under Gaza’s largest hospital, but it is clear that there is a tunnel down below. Seeing what connects to that tunnel is absolutely critical.

For Israel, the stakes could not be higher. Israel has publicly asserted for weeks, if not years, that Hamas has built terror infrastructure below the hospital. The ability to continue to prosecute the war in the face of mounting international criticism depends to a large extent on Israel being able to prove this point.

Hamas has repeatedly denied that there is a network of tunnels below Shifa hospital. Health officials who have spoken with CNN have said the same, insisting it is only a medical facility.”


Hamas Tunnels Under Hospitals

“According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Hamas tunnels are not only located under hospitals—using civilians as human shields and making it harder to actually target terrorists—but also siphon away electricity, diverting it away from patients in need and toward Hamas’ own evil ends.”