Israel Defense Forces have uncovered more than 800 tunnel shafts leading to tunnels beneath the surface since the start of ground operations in Gaza — a network sometimes referred to by locals as the “Gaza Metro.”
At least 500 of the tunnel shafts have been destroyed using a variety of operational methods, including with explosives and blocks.
Some of the tunnel shafts were connected to strategic assets of the Hamas terrorist organization via the underground tunnel network.
Many miles of the tunnel routes have been destroyed, according to the IDF.
The tunnel shafts have been discovered in numerous civilian areas, many of which were near or inside civilian buildings and structures, such as schools, kindergartens, mosques and playgrounds.
IDF soldiers have also found large quantities of weapons inside some of the shafts.
“These findings are further proof of how Hamas deliberately uses the civilian population and infrastructure as a cover for its terrorist activity inside Gaza,” the IDF said. Using civilians as a cover for military or terrorist activity — as human shields — is a war crime under international law. Targeting civilians from such positions is a double war crime.
After locating the shafts, IDF troops carry out thorough investigations in order to understand the characteristics of the tunnels and then prepare the underground route for its destruction.