Much of Hamas tunnel network still in ‘good functional state,’ TV report says, citing IDF

A handout image released on April 7, 2024, shows a 900-meter-long tunnel uncovered by the IDF in the al-Amal neighborhood of Khan Younis, along with weapons discovered inside. (Israel Defense Forces)
A handout image released on April 7, 2024, shows a 900-meter-long tunnel uncovered by the IDF in the al-Amal neighborhood of Khan Younis, along with weapons discovered inside. (Israel Defense Forces)

After nine months of war, much of Hamas’s tunnel network is still in a “good functional state” in many parts of Gaza, and Hamas still has the capacity to organize raids close to the border with Israel and possibly even across it, Channel 12 news reports, citing what it says is a recently written IDF assessment.

The Hamas tunnels are in good shape in the refugee camps of central Gaza, most of Rafah in the south, and Shejaiya in the north, the TV report says.

In Khan Younis, in the south of the strip, many tunnels that were targeted by the IDF have been fixed up, as have the factories in the area that produce the concrete to build the tunnels.

Even though the IDF has been focused on tackling Hamas in Rafah in recent weeks, functional tunnels in the area enable Hamas to get close to the Israeli border, and only a few routes have been destroyed on the Philadelphi Route along the Gaza-Egypt border, the report says.

Tunnels in Gaza City are in a medium to good state, and enable Hamas to gain proximity to the Israeli border, it adds.

Overall, were the war to end now, the report says, “Hamas still has the capacity to organize an incursion close to the border and perhaps even across it, [albeit] not on the scale of the past.”

The report notes that the IDF remains heavily focused on tackling the Hamas tunnel network, and is gradually destroying it, including near the border, but says that the heads of the civil defense squads for communities along the border who have read the document are troubled by its findings, and want the work of neutralizing the tunnels done as a first priority.

Nonetheless, it notes that Israel’s military chiefs, “given the achievements to date” in the war, still say that if a deal can be negotiated with Hamas, “it is right to stop now to get back the hostages.”

Senior Israeli defense officials in January assessed that Hamas’s Gaza tunnel network was between 350 and 450 miles long, an astounding figure given that the enclave is only some 140 square miles in total size.

Most Popular