The Israel Defense Forces has damaged or rendered inoperable 20% to 40% of Hamas’s expansive tunnel infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, according to a Wall Street Journal report, citing Israeli and U.S. officials.
The report noted that Israel has sought various methods to clear the tunnels, including installing pumps to flood them with seawater, destroying them with airstrikes and liquid explosives, searching them with dogs and robots and raiding them.
The IDF is “thoroughly and gradually dismantling the tunnel network,” the military said in a statement to the WSJ. The White House and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.
Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Hamas’s network of terror tunnels was even more extensive than previously thought, with new assessments indicating it has upwards of 5,700 entry shafts.
In the wake of intensive counterterror combat operations in the southern Hamas stronghold of Khan Yunis during recent weeks, Israel now believes the Islamist group built between 350 and 450 miles of subterranean terror infrastructure, up from a previous estimate of 250 miles.
Hamas chief in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, who masterminded the Oct. 7, 2023 massacre, is believed to be hiding in a tunnel in Khan Yunis, where he has reportedly surrounded himself with a large number of hostages, preventing the IDF from carrying out an airstrike on his location.
In December, the IDF revealed the discovery of the largest Hamas attack tunnel found to date, located in the northern Gaza Strip close to the Erez border crossing.
The military uncovered four kilometers (2.5 miles) of the tunnel, which reached a depth of 50 meters (165 feet) in some sections.