Former deputy IDF chief of staff Yair Golan says that “under no circumstances” should or will IDF soldiers enter Hamas’s terror tunnels, as the army broadens its ground operation to destroy Hamas’s military capabilities.
In an interview with Army Radio, the reserves general says, “You don’t need to go into the tunnels” and “it would be a grave mistake to enter the tunnels” where Hamas is hiding out and waiting.
“The wisdom is to find the entrances and seal them, or send in smoke that will cause the enemy to come out or will harm him,” says Golan.
“Under no circumstances do you fight in the tunnels… where there is no chance that you won’t get hurt. You don’t fight inside the tunnels, you counter the threat of the tunnels,” he says.
When it is put to him that Hamas is capable of remaining inside its vast underground tunnel network “forever,” Golan says: “Take my word for it. The IDF has the capabilities today to deal effectively with the tunnels. It has all the knowledge and the means. If Hamas stays in the tunnels, they will become a death trap.”
Golan, who headed south on October 7 and joined in the fighting against the terrorists rampaging across the western Negev, elaborated: “The moment that we get to the tunnels, or regarding the tunnels we’ve already reached, they become a death trap for the enemy. From the moment the entrances are found, the full advantage is with the attacking forces.”
Asked whether the IDF would have to enter Shifa Hospital to expose and deal with the tunnel entrances there, Golan said he did not know how the fighting would play out. And he stressed the two imperatives of battling Hamas and freeing the hostages.
Asked whether he would favor a deal whereby the hostages are freed in return for the Hamas leadership being given safe passage to Iran, Syria or elsewhere, Golan said: “If only. If we can get to a situation where the Hamas leaders sail away and our hostages are freed, that would be almost too good to be true.”
He stressed that “nobody knows what is realistic” in terms of any such deal. But he adds: “Are we ready to pay a heavy price for the release of the hostages? The answer is yes.”
When he is asked about US President Joe Biden’s support for a pause in Israel’s offensive to enable the release of the hostages, Golan says, “Anything that enables the speedy release of the hostages would be blessed,” but he doesn’t think it will be that simple. He notes that Hamas is not the only force holding hostages. So, too, are other terror groups and clans, he says.