IDF reveals massive Hamas tunnel network in Gaza’s Jabaliya, where it found 5 hostages’ bodies

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

A screenshot from a video of a large Hamas tunnel network found in northern Gaza’s Jabaliya camp and revealed by the IDF on December 24, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
A screenshot from a video of a large Hamas tunnel network found in northern Gaza’s Jabaliya camp and revealed by the IDF on December 24, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF reveals a large Hamas tunnel network in northern Gaza’s Jabaliya camp, where the bodies of five Israeli hostages were recovered earlier this month.

Troops of the 551st Brigade and Military Intelligence’s Unit 504 led the operation to retrieve the bodies of soldiers Warrant Officer Ziv Dado, Cpl. Nik Beizer and Sgt. Ron Sherman, and civilians Elia Toledano and Eden Zacharia.

The IDF had intelligence of two bodies of hostages being in the Jabaliya camp area, and located tunnel shafts during their scans.

The shafts, investigated by troops, including the elite Yahalom combat engineering unit, revealed a massive tunnel network with two levels and an elevator heading down dozens of meters to a large hall and command center.

The IDF says the network had many branches used by Hamas to fight, including some tunnels going underneath a nearby school and hospital. One of the shafts led to the home of the former commander of Hamas’s northern Gaza brigade, Ahmed Ghandour, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike.

The entire network was around a square kilometer in size.

Weapons and infrastructure used to manufacture weapons were also found in the tunnel, the IDF says.

The first two bodies, of Dado and Zacharia, were found on December 13, and three days later, the other three, Beizer, Sherman and Toledano, were located in a different area of the tunnel network.

The IDF says it has shown the families of the hostages the army’s investigation into the operation to retrieve their bodies.

The massive tunnel network was destroyed several days ago by the IDF, after it completed its scans of the area.

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