The Israel Defense Forces announced on Sunday night the completion of a “large-scale operation to dismantle the northern underground headquarters of Hamas in Gaza.”
Troops retrieved the bodies of five hostages earlier this month after discovering the subterranean tunnel network during activities in Jabalia, the largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps.
Israeli forces gained operational control over the camp in recent weeks, where they engaged in intense battles, killing many terrorists and finding hundreds of weapons.
Subsequently, the soldiers uncovered the massive tunnel network serving as the underground headquarters of Hamas, which included two levels—the first nearly 33 feet deep and the second even deeper. The tunnel network included many branches and was used to manage combat and the passage of terrorists.
Weapons, infrastructure for the production of weapons and rooms for emergencies were found. The tunnel network was connected to a shaft that reached the house of Ahmed Ahandor, the commander of Hamas’s northern division in the Gaza Strip, who was killed by the IDF last month after serving in the post for 18 years.
This network went under the grounds of a school and a hospital, using them as civilian shields, according to the IDF.
The bodies of five abductees brought to Gaza during the Oct. 7 massacre were found in a tunnel: Sgt. Ziv Dado, Sgt. Ron Sherman, Cpl. Nick Beiser, Eden Zacharias and Elia Toledano. They were transferred to Israel for proper burial.
“At the end of the mission, the forces destroyed the underground headquarters. The destruction of the headquarters in Jabalia is part of the effort to deal with Hamas’s tunnel infrastructure and harm its senior commanders and strategic capabilities. This effort continues all the time and is now also being carried out in Khan Yunis and the south of the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said.
Hundreds of weapons found at Gaza City school complex
Israeli forces killed terrorists hiding in an educational compound in the Gaza City neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan, where they found hundreds of weapons, including grenades, RPG projectiles and explosives.
Dozens of terrorists captured in the raid on the schools, which are located adjacent to mosques and residential buildings, were transferred for further investigation.
“We raided a school where a large population was hiding,” said Maj. (res.) R., deputy company commander of the elite Shayetet 13 commando unit. “After the evacuation of the population, many weapons were found in the compound that were hidden among the citizens’ equipment.”
He continued: “Among other things, we also found weapons, cartridges, grenade launchers, [explosive] charges and grenades with advanced and innovative operating mechanisms.”
Combined forces continue to attack across the Strip
Israeli ground, naval and aerial forces continue to attack targets across the Gaza Strip, including terrorist squads and Hamas “military” posts, the IDF said on Monday morning.
In Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip, many Hamas weapons were located, including Kalashnikov rifles, ready-to-use charges with explosives and cartridges.
Additionally, soldiers in Khan Yunis in the south raided a building where weapons were found and later raided terror infrastructure inside the house of a Hamas terrorist before destroying it.
Two soldiers killed in Gaza
The IDF on Monday morning cleared for publication the names of two soldiers killed in battle in the north of the Gaza Strip: Master Sgt. (res.) Nitai Meisels, 30, from Rehovot; and Sgt. Rani Tamir, 20, from Ganei Am.
Their deaths bring the total number of soldiers killed since the start of Gaza ground operations to 156; overall, 489 military personnel have been killed since the start of the war on Oct. 7.
Netanyahu: “We will not stop until we achieve victory”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement on Sunday evening, reaffirmed the government’s position that the war against Hamas will continue until the mission is accomplished.
“Citizens of Israel, we are intensifying the war in the Gaza Strip. We will continue to fight until absolute victory over Hamas [is achieved]. This is the only way to return our hostages, eliminate Hamas and ensure that Gaza will no longer be a threat to Israel,” he said.
“This will take time, but we are united—the soldiers, the people and the government. We are united and determined to fight until the end,” he added.
“The war has a price, a very heavy price in the lives of our heroic soldiers, and we will do everything to safeguard the lives of our soldiers. However, there is one thing we will not do: We will not stop until we achieve victory.”