Yedioth Ahronoth: Gaza’s tunnels exceeded Israel’s estimates hundreds of times

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Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said that the Israeli army was surprised by the size of the tunnel network built by the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip, which exceeded Israeli estimates before the war hundreds of times.

Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the army was surprised that the size of the tunnel network in the Gaza Strip exceeded the estimates of military commanders by about 600%.

On December 17, the Israeli army announced the discovery of a tunnel in the northern Gaza Strip, 4 kilometers long opposite the Gaza envelope settlements, and promoted the step as an achievement, even though the discovery of the tunnel came about 60 days after a ground incursion by Israeli forces into the Strip.

On the other hand, the al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas movement – responded that the Israeli army arrived late, and that the tunnel whose discovery was announced was built for use in operation al Aqsa Flood, on October 7.

The Israeli army seeks, among the goals of its war against Gaza, to destroy or disrupt the network of resistance tunnels in the Strip, which extend underground for hundreds of kilometers.

An investigation published by Yedioth Ahronoth indicated that most Israeli security services had two estimates regarding the number of Hamas tunnels in Gaza at the beginning of the ground invasion of the Strip.

The first indicated the presence of about 100 to 200 kilometers of tunnels under Gaza, and the second indicated that, as of the end of 2020, they didn’t have any.

The tunnels posed the greatest challenge to the Israeli army during its aggression against the Gaza Strip, as the Israeli army is waging the war equipped with elite engineering units and advanced weapons, and combining land, sea and air forces in the fighting.

The Israeli army demolished entire streets to dismantle this network in places where tunnels were found.

The tunnels used by the al Qassam Brigades are divided into insurance, attack, defense, supply, and command tunnels, but there is no information about their number and size geographically, nor about their extensions, connection, or separation.

These tunnels penetrate the ground by more than 30 meters, and in some cases include a series of layers one above the other, and they are so highly equipped that some describe them as a new generation of tunnels.

The network of tunnels – which Hamas uses in its battles against the Israeli forces – also includes crater tunnels – which aren’t tunnels in the full sense, but rather ambushes to trap the invading forces.

This type of tunnels has inflicted great losses on Israel in the north and south of the Gaza Strip.

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