“Since Operation Protection Edge in 2014, Hamas’ main effort was to build a network of tunnels, which are located in close proximity to hospitals and civilian buildings,” said a senior IDF officer.
By Sharon Wrobel, The Algemeiner
The Israeli army said it has destroyed more than 100 kilometers, or over 60 miles, of an underground tunnel system in the Gaza Strip during the past 10 days of fighting with Hamas. The complex tunnel system is used by the terrorist group to move rockets and operatives from one area to another and to launch attacks.
“Since Operation Protection Edge in 2014, Hamas’ main effort was to build a network of tunnels, which are located in close proximity to hospitals and civilian buildings,” said a senior IDF officer. “Most of the cement which was provided by Israel to Gaza for housing is found below the ground.”
According to the senior military officer, the IDF’s partial tunnel destruction has dealt a large blow to Hamas’ military infrastructure, helping to slow down the intensity of the rocket fire launched at longer-range areas, including Tel Aviv, in recent days.
At the same time, Hamas rocket fire has continued targeting Israel’s south and areas closer to the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, the IDF senior officer also pointed out that Hamas’ tunnel network was still estimated to stretch along as far as several hundred miles, as the terrorist organization operates across five brigades.
The cost of building the tunnel is estimated at around $50 million, according to the senior IDF officer. Initially, the so-called Metro tunnel project began with individual shafts dug deep underground and used as hiding places for Hamas terror operatives after launching rockets. With time, the network of tunnels grew and branched off to become an internal tunnel system throughout the Gaza Strip for military training and is used for mobility, storage of weaponry and to manage military operations.
The terror infrastructure is embedded in civilian areas, and uses civilian buildings as entry points, as well as cover for the tunnels themselves.
Tuesday night, IDF fighter jets and aircraft struck the tunnel system, located in Khan Yunis and Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, during a fifth stage of strikes. During the strikes, which lasted 25 minutes, approximately 40 Hamas underground military targets were struck. The strikes were carried out by 52 IDF fighter jets, with the use of approximately 120 guided armaments.
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