update deskIsrael at War

IDF destroys largest terror tunnel yet found in northern Gaza

The nearest shaft of the 2.5-mile tunnel was 440 yards from the Israeli border.

Israeli forces working on destroying the largest Hamas terror tunnel discovered in northern Gaza since the start of the war. Credit: IDF.
Israeli forces working on destroying the largest Hamas terror tunnel discovered in northern Gaza since the start of the war. Credit: IDF.

The Israel Defense Forces recently destroyed the largest tunnel discovered in northern Gaza since the start of the war against the Hamas terrorist group nearly five months ago, the army said on Tuesday.

Stretching some 4 kilometers (2.5 miles), the tunnel approached the Erez crossing to Beit Hanun in Gaza, while never crossing into Israeli territory, with the nearest shaft located 400 meters (about 440 yards) from Erez. The Erez crossing is the sole pedestrian crossing between Gaza and Israel and before the Oct. 7 massacre was used to transfer Gaza patients to Israeli hospitals and by Palestinians with Israeli work permits.

First discovered on Dec. 16, the IDF has been studying and dismantling the tunnel, which had several branches and a maximum depth of 50 meters (165 feet).

The tunnel was big enough to allow for vehicular movements. The route included infrastructure for sewage, electricity and communication and secured top doors designed to prevent the IDF from entering.

Many Hamas weapons were found within the tunnel system.

The tunnel was destroyed in a joint operation involving the engineering unit of the IDF’s Gaza Division, the Engineering Corps’ Yahalom special operations unit, the IDF Southern Command and the Defense Ministry’s engineering and construction division.

Footage from the IDF’s activity to neutralize the tunnel appears to show a green-painted Nazi swastika, underscoring the violent antisemitic ideology of Hamas.

“The highest-ranking members of the terrorist organization were directly involved in building this tunnel, including [Hamas chief in Gaza] Yaha Sinwar and [his brother] Mohammed Sinwar, who worked on the planning, construction and budgeting, all of which drew many resources from the people of Gaza for the benefit of terrorist infrastructure instead of civilian infrastructure,” said the commander of the underground warfare unit, described as “Maj. Y.” by the IDF to conceal his identity.

It was reported in late January that the IDF has damaged or rendered inoperable 20% to 40% of Hamas’s expansive tunnel infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

Israel believes the Islamist group built between 350 and 450 miles of subterranean terror infrastructure, with upwards of 5,700 entry shafts.

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