The moment the Israel Defense Forces destroy part of the Hamas terrorist tunnel network in Gaza
A video posted on the Internet shows the Israel Defense Forces (FDI) demolishing a tunnel network of Hamas in Beit Hanounnorth of Gaza.
The drone images, published by the public broadcaster Khanshow first a single explosion before a series of synchronized explosions, apparently in all the tunnel entrances found by the troops. A cloud of dust rises over the area.
It is unclear when the video was recorded, as it was not officially issued by the IDF.
Clearing the tunnels is an important part of Israel's military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in response to the Palestinian militant group's deadly attack on southern Israel on October 7.
Recently, after locating what they described as the entrance to a Hamas tunnel under an evacuated hospital in northern Gaza, Israeli army engineers were seen filling the passageway with explosive gel and activated the detonator.
“The gel spread and exploded what had been waiting for us in the tunnel,” he told Reuters an army officer at a briefing at the ground forces base in Zeelimin southern Israel.
When not using munitions to dynamit the bunkers, manholes and tunnels that both sides say extend hundreds of kilometers beneath Gaza, the army opts to crawler robots and other remotely operated technologies.
“That's where creativity and innovation come in handy”said.
In Beit Hanunwhere his forces operated, some gunmen had assaulted Israeli military personnel from tunnel shafts and were killed, he said.
Israel's policy, he said, was not to send personnel in the other direction to confront Palestinian fighters who would have a defensive advantage in narrow, dark, poorly ventilated and collapsible passages with which they were familiar.
“We don't want to go down there. We know that they have left us a lot of side bombs (improvised explosive devices),” he said.
One such bomb, placed in the cover of a ground-level tunnel access shaft, had killed four special forces reservists last week.
Hamas has attack, smuggling and storage tunnels, according to security sources. Each tunnel can have dozens of shafts at depths between 20 and 80 meters.
Destroying a well is relatively easy and quick, the officer said, adding: “Any platoon can do it”.
The Israeli military said last week that so far 130 wells had been destroyedbut did not give any number of tunnels demolished.
Tunnels are more difficult to attack. The officer said that they need several tons of explosive gel - about which he did not want to give technical details, apart from saying that it is brought in trucks - for every hundreds of meters of tunnel.
Post-hoc analysis is difficult. The official said that about half of the wells in his area of operations Beit Hanoun had been destroyed, but recognized that these can be rebuilt.
“It is difficult to say how many tunnels (have been destroyed) because they are all connected”said.
Hamas has denied that it uses hospitals as cover for such tunnels. It has rejected Israel's claims that it has a command center under Gaza's largest hospital, Al Shifawhich Israeli forces entered on Wednesday.
Hamas took over Gaza 240 people captive in the October 7 attack, in which about 1,200 people died, according to Israel. One of the few freed hostages said she and at least two dozen others had been held in a tunnel.
The army official said care was being taken not to endanger tunnels that could contain hostages.
“Sometimes we get hints that (a target) might be related to hostages. And then we know that we should not attack it unless they give us the go-ahead (that it is clear),” he said.
Like much of northern Gaza, Beit Hanun It has been emptied of civilians, who fled south under orders from Israel when it sent ground troops to try to take down Hamas.
“The only population left are the terrorists”the officer said, adding that sometimes a secondary explosion caused by blowing up a tunnel “It collapses a building a few hundred meters away.”
Captive Palestinian gunmen have provided Israel with information about the tunnel network, he said, but this information has been limited.
“Most of them don't know the whole city. But they know their own town, they know the tunnel system quite well,” the officer said.
The official said it could take months to destroy Gaza's entire underground network.
“I think it's more complicated than the New York subway.”he claimed.
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