Israel’s Defence Forces have released dramatic footage which they says shows how Hamas utilises extensive tunnel networks to plan attacks and hide from airstrikes – as IDF troops and tanks prepare for a full-blown ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.
The IDF has shared a slick video of Hamas fighters running rockets through a maze of underground pathways and discussing operations in cavernous headquarters – all of which they say are below Gazan homes, schools, mosques and hospitals.
‘Beneath the streets of Gaza lies an underground city, a complex labyrinth of terrorist infrastructure,’ the voiceover says, adding that the subterranean networks enable Hamas to force ‘millions of civilians to shield their militia of terror’.
Hamas’s ‘Metro’ will soon become a battleground for hand-to-hand combat between IDF soldiers and the terrorists, with tunnel battles considered some of the most dangerous for armies to fight.
‘Terrorists are hiding around every corner,’ the video warns, as thousands of IDF troops mass on the border as they await the moment to launch what the Prime Minister anticipates will be a ‘long and difficult’ ground offensive in Gaza.
A a black cloud of smoke rises above gutted buildings on the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas
Israeli tanks and bulldozer are seen in the northern part of the Gaza Strip on October 29
An Israeli artillery unit fires from the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border into the Strip
Part of the video appeared to show Hamas fighters digging out some of the tunnels
Hamas’s ‘Metro’ will soon become a battleground for hand-to-hand combat between IDF soldiers and the terrorists
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar claimed in 2021 that the militant group had 310 miles of tunnels
Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ political leader, is shown in the video proudly declaring the extent of his group’s network of terror.
He claimed in 2021 that the militant group had 310 miles of tunnels. The Gaza Strip itself is only some 140 square miles, making it just over four times smaller than London.
‘They started saying that they destroyed 100 kilometers (62 miles) of Hamas tunnels. I am telling you that the tunnels we have in the Gaza Strip exceed 500 kilometers,’ Sinwar said in the aftermath of a bloody 11-day war with Israel.
‘Even if their narrative is true, they only destroyed 20 per cent of the tunnels.’
Now, Israel is hoping to completely ‘demolish’ Hamas, along with its entire infrastructure.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN said on Friday that the ‘only way to destroy Hamas is to root them out of their tunnels and their subterranean city of terror’.
According to some reports, the Israeli Air Force has been doing just this by deploying ‘bunker buster’ ordnance to destroy Hamas’s tunnel network.
The first warhead of the missiles creates a hole, then a second penetrates deeper into the earth, destroying underground structures.
But, Israel is coming under increasing pressure from its international backers to pause the fighting, and now the US – usually its most steadfast supporter – is urging a more cautious approach.
‘What we believe is that every hour, every day of this military operation, the IDF, the Israeli government should be taking every possible means available to them to distinguish between Hamas terrorists who are legitimate military targets and civilians who are not,’ national security advisor Jake Sullivan said on CNN.
Israeli Merkava tanks take position along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip as smoke from shelling rises in the background
A column of smoke rises over Gaza, as seen from southern Israel’s border with the enclave
As Israel’s unforgiving bombardment of Gazan cities continues, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari again warned civilians in northern Gaza to evacuate without delay
A Palestinian boy rides a bike, as Emergency personnel and people check the damage at the site of Israeli strikes on houses in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip
As Israel’s unforgiving bombardment of Gazan cities continues, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari again warned civilians in northern Gaza to evacuate without delay.
The relentless bombing is expected to wreak more havoc today, with the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS) revealing this morning that they received ‘strong threats’ from Israel to ‘immediately evacuate the Al-Quds Hospital because it will be bombed’.
The hospital is treating around 500 patients, including babies in incubators, a representative for the charity told the BBC, adding that it will not be able to carry out a mass evacuation as it ‘does not have the means’.
The World Health Organisation has said the report is ‘deeply concerning’ and reiterated ‘it’s impossible to evacuate hospitals full of patients without endangering their lives’.
It comes after Israel released what it said was a mock-up of what a Hamas terror base underneath Gaza’s biggest hospital looks like.
A video shows a labyrinth of underground tunnels and war rooms used as main HQ for militant group beneath the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
An ‘intelligence-based illustration’ released by the Jewish nation’s military show a sinister network of corridors and rooms deep below the buildings where thousands of civilians are sheltering and innocents are being treated.
The IDF has shared a slick video of Hamas fighters running rockets through a maze of underground pathways
The army recently released computer-generated images showing what it said were Hamas installations in and around Shifa Hospital
The relentless bombing is expected to wreak more havoc today, with plumes of smoke seen rising over the Strip
The IDF says Hamas is using people there and elsewhere as ‘human shields’, and has reiterated its ongoing call to civilians to move to the south of the besieged Strip ahead of the ‘impending IDF operation’.
The Palestinian death toll passed 8,000, most of them women and children, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Doctors Without Borders has called for an immediate ceasefire to prevent more deaths in the Gaza Strip and allow desperately needed humanitarian supplies in.
‘Northern Gaza is being razed to the ground, while the whole Strip is being hit and civilians have no place to take shelter,’ a statement by the Switzerland-based aid group said.
‘The actions of world leaders are too weak, too slow, as a non-binding UN resolution for a humanitarian truce has done nothing to reign in the indiscriminate violence unleashed on a helpless people.
‘Hospitals are flooded with patients, amputations and surgeries are being carried out without proper anesthesia, and morgues are flooded with dead bodies,’ the group said.
A man holds wounded children near livestock animals around the heavily damaged buildings after Israeli attacks at Nuseirat Refugee Camp
Palestinians evacuate a building destroyed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, including on the southern border city of Rafah
A view of the remains of a mosque and houses destroyed by Israeli strikes in the central Gaza Strip
Meanwhile UN chief Antonio Guterres has warned the situation in Gaza is ‘growing more desperate by the hour’ as he repeated urgent appeals for a ceasefire to end the ‘nightmare’ of bloodshed.
‘I regret that instead of a critically needed humanitarian pause, supported by the international community, Israel has intensified its military operations,’ Guterres said.
‘The number of civilians who have been killed and injured is totally unacceptable. The world is witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe taking place before our eyes.’
The situation is likely to radically worsen for civilians left stranded in northern Gaza, with many who have fled south under Israeli orders having been forced to return home after failing to find refuge from bombing.
A huge fireball can be seen rising over Gaza City following intense Israeli strikes overnight
The Hamas rockets have been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system
The IDF has again stepped up its calls for civilians to evacuate to get out of harm’s way as troops continued to stream into Gaza last night and into this morning and a ground incursion thought to be imminent.
‘Overnight we increased the entry of IDF forces into the Strip, and they joined the forces already fighting there,’ Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a televised briefing.
He said the military is ‘making progress at this stage of the war according to plan and expanding our ground operations,’ while adding that at least 331 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 32 taken captive since fighting erupted on October 7.
Additional ground forces entered the Gaza Strip overnight, with troops on the ground striking terror cell hideouts and helping to direct warplanes to new targets
Netanyahu vowed to ‘eradicate’ Hamas ‘for the sake of our existence’ after meeting families of some 230 hostages held in Gaza since Hamas terrorists’ bloody invasion.
‘This is the second stage of the war whose goals are clear: destroying the military and leadership capabilities of Hamas, and bringing the hostages back home,’ Netanyahu told journalists.
Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said earlier that Israel was attacking ‘above the ground and below the ground’ in the new phase of the war, alluding to the sprawling network of tunnels Hamas has built under Gaza.
Israeli soldiers prepare for ground manoeuvres at an undisclosed location near the border with Gaza
‘Since early Friday evening, combined combat forces of armour, combat engineers and infantry have been operating on the ground in the northern Gaza Strip,’ the Israeli army said late Saturday.
The IDF says it has hit some 450 Hamas targets in the past day and night, including command centres, observation posts and anti-tank guided missile launch positions.
Additional ground forces entered the Gaza Strip overnight, with troops on the ground striking terror cell hideouts and helping to direct warplanes to new targets.