The Israel Defense Forces’ search for terror tunnels is being aided by a trove of intelligence seized by soldiers, namely 65 million digital files and a half-million physical documents, the IDF disclosed on Thursday.
Tasked with sorting through the intelligence finds is Amshat, a unit within the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate. Amshat is the Hebrew acronym for “Document and Technical Means Collection Unit.”
Laptops, flash drives, notebooks, maps, ledgers, bodycams and other items that soldiers find in Hamas tunnels, strongholds, hideouts, or on the bodies of terrorists eventually reach Amshat.
“The huge amount of material that comes in from the field generates many intelligence opportunities to help front-line soldiers,” explained Capt. (res.) S. of Amshat.
Among the documents found was a map of tunnel shafts seized by the 252nd Division in the residence of a company commander in the Beit Hanoun Battalion of Hamas in the northeast of the Gaza Strip. A key explaining the map was located and collected by the division at the residence of another operative.
When the research team collated the data, the important link between the map and the key was created—making it possible to locate and destroy tunnel shafts in the field.
In addition, a document was seized with the location of a hidden weapons stockpile in the Beit Hanoun area. After analyzing the document, Amshat was able to direct ground forces to the location of the armaments cache, which was destroyed.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Thursday that troops were fighting in tunnels underneath Khan Yunis, Hamas’s stronghold in the southern Gaza Strip.
Hagari said finding the tunnel shafts, destroying Hamas terror infrastructure and the killing of terrorists is a lengthy process.
“These are ambitious but important war aims because there is no other way to defeat Hamas, and it will take time,” he said.