Secret Underground City Beneath Gaza

J e r u s a l e m /London: What liesin wait for Israeliground troops inGaza, securitysources say, is aHamas tunnelnetwork hundredsof kilometres longand up to 80 metresdeep, described by one freed hostage as “a spider’s web” and byone expert as the “Viet Cong times 10”. The Palestinian Islamistgroup has different kinds of tunnels running beneath the sandy360-sq-km coastal strip and its borders – including attack,smuggling, storage and operational burrows, Western and MiddleEast sources familiar with the matter said. The United Statesbelieves Israel’s special forces will face an unprecedented challengehaving to battle Hamas militants while trying to avoid killinghostages held below ground, a U.S. official said.U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted that Iraq’s ninemonth-long battle to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic Statemight prove to have been easier than what awaits the Israelis – likelyto be “a lot of IEDs (improvised explosive devices), a lot of boobytraps, and just a really grinding activity”. Even though Israel hasinvested heavily in tunnel detection – including a sensor-equipped
underground barrier it called an “iron wall” – Hamas is still thought tohave working tunnels to the outside world. After the last round ofhostilities in 2021, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yehya Al-Sinwar, said:”They started saying they destroyed 100kms of Hamas tunnels. I amtelling you, the tunnels we have in the Gaza Strip exceed 500kms.Even if their narrative is true, they only destroyed 20% of the tunnels.”

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