The Israeli military has announced that it has discovered the “largest tunnel” dug under the area by the Palestinian terrorist movement Hamas during its offensive in the Gaza Strip.
The concrete corridor is more than four kilometers long and is supposed to open in the immediate vicinity of the Israeli border.
The destruction of hundreds of kilometers of underground tunnels and bunkers is one of the main goals of the operation, which Israel launched after the bloody attack by Hamas on October 7.
The Erez border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel was among the places that terrorists attacked in October. The army showed the journalists that just a few hundred meters away, the mouth of a huge tunnel was hidden in a sand dune.
The tunnel created 50 meters underground is three meters high and three meters wide. Hamas fighters could thus comfortably travel to the north of Gaza City, which was formerly the seat of the Hamas government and is now a destroyed combat zone, Reuters reported.
“It’s the biggest tunnel we found in Gaza… Its target was the (Erez) border crossing,” Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari said, according to Reuters, without specifying whether the tunnel was used by Hamas for the October 7 attack. “Millions of dollars have been invested in this tunnel. It took years to build. Vehicles could pass through it,” he added.
Electricity, ventilation, sewage
According to AFP, the tunnel has reinforced concrete walls, is equipped with electricity, ventilation, sewage, communication networks and rails.
Israeli forces say it was built under the leadership of Muhammad Sinvar, who is the brother of Yahya Sinvar, the leader of the Hamas movement. A number of ready-to-use weapons were discovered in the tunnel, the Israeli military said.
Hamas did not respond to a Reuters inquiry about Israel’s description of the tunnel. The tunnels that the Palestinian movement showed to journalists, or that were shown to reporters by the Israeli army after they were discovered, were narrow, low corridors designed for pedestrian movement.
According to Hagari, the large tunnel opening at Erez was probably part of a wider network of corridors. In such a network of corridors, Hamas could hide the hostages kidnapped on October 7 from Israel.
The Israeli army announced in early December that during a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, it had discovered more than 800 entrance shafts to underground tunnels, of which approximately 500 had already been destroyed either by using explosives or by sealing them off.