Israel claims to have located around 1,500 tunnel shafts in Gaza since start of war

The Israeli military claims that it has located around 1,500 tunnel shafts and underground passages in the Gaza Strip since its military operation started in early October.

The tunnel shafts belonged to Hamas and many of them were located in “civilian areas and inside civilian structures”, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed in a statement.

“After locating hundreds of tunnels and destroying many of them using various techniques, the ‘Shaldag’ Special Forces Unit are conducting operational activities within the Hamas terrorist organization subterranean tunnel network,” the IDF added.

The tunnels under Gaza are used to smuggle goods from Egypt, launch attacks into Israel, store rockets and ammunition caches and house Hamas command and control centers.

The IDF on Sunday claimed it had uncovered “the biggest Hamas tunnel” in Gaza, spanning a length of four kilometers (2.5 miles).

The Israeli military said the tunnel, secured “a few weeks ago” but revealed to the public Sunday, was wide enough to drive a large vehicle through, reached up to 50 meters underground and was equipped with electricity, ventilation and communication systems.

The tunnel does not cross into Israel but ends 400 meters before the now-shut Erez Crossing on the northern Israeli-Gazan border, according to the IDF.

In 2021, Hamas announced to have built 500 kilometers (311 miles) worth of tunnels under Gaza.

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