IDF demolishes 6 tunnels in Shejaiya, including Islamic Jihad’s ‘flagship’ Gaza City passageway

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

IDF troops operate in Gaza City's Shejaiya neighborhood, in a handout image published July 9, 2024 (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF troops operate in Gaza City's Shejaiya neighborhood, in a handout image published July 9, 2024 (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli troops operating in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood have demolished six Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad tunnels amid the latest operation there, launched less than two weeks ago, according to the IDF.

At least three more tunnels have been located and are in the process of being mapped out and demolished.

One of the destroyed tunnels is considered by the IDF to be Islamic Jihad’s “flagship” tunnel in Gaza City. The recently discovered 2.5-kilometer (1.5-mile) tunnel was used by the terror group for command and control, according to military assessments. Troops found laptops, weaponry, and intelligence material inside, indicating it was still being used by the terror group recently.

The operation carried out by the 98th Division in Shejaiya, launched on June 27, came after the IDF said it had identified Hamas operatives regrouping in the area, as well as new intelligence on the terror group’s existing infrastructure.

The IDF first operated in Shejaiya during the initial months of the ground offensive against Hamas, announcing that it had dismantled the terror group’s local battalion there in December. It last returned to the Gaza City neighborhood in April, as the military shifted its operations in the Strip to targeted raids against attempts by terror groups to regroup.

Other tunnels found by the 98th Division in Shejaiya included a significant Hamas tunnel within the heart of the neighborhood and several attack tunnels that were dug toward Israel, at least two of which reached close to Israel’s border barrier — just across from Nahal Oz — according to the IDF. Those tunnels did not cross into Israel, and were not believed to have been used by terrorists on October 7.

In all, at least six kilometers’ worth of tunnels have so far been demolished in Shejaiya.

Military sources say the latest operation in Shejaiya has so far been highly effective, highlighted by the fact that troops managed to locate around nine significant tunnels in just 12 days.

The operation in Shejaiya began with a raid against a school complex that according to the IDF had been used by Hamas. Around 100 gunmen were hiding at the school, among around 1,000 civilians. The terror operatives mostly fled the area as the IDF reached the school, leaving behind weapons and valuable intelligence material, according to the military.

Intelligence obtained by troops in Shejaiya has provided the IDF with insights on Hamas’s attempts to regroup, as well as its infrastructure in the area, the IDF sources say.

More than 150 gunmen have been killed by troops in Shejaiya, according to the IDF.

Four IDF soldiers have been killed in the operation.

Most Popular