Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Israel Discovers Hostage Tunnel in Southern Gaza City


Israel Destroys Hamas Tunnel Used for Hostages in Gaza

Israel’s military announced on Wednesday that it had successfully discovered and destroyed a tunnel used by senior Hamas leaders to hold hostages in the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis. The tunnel, which stretched over one kilometer, was unearthed by special forces during a targeted raid.

Khan Yunis, home to Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar, has been heavily bombarded by Israel in recent weeks as they seek to apprehend those responsible for the deadly attack on October 7. The Israeli army shared images of what they referred to as a “hostage holding cell,” complete with tiled walls and steel bars from floor to ceiling. According to the statement released by the army, the tunnel held approximately 12 hostages at different times, with three already returned to Israel while the rest remain in captivity in Gaza.

The underground tunnel, strategically built beneath a civilian area, featured amenities such as a bathroom, kitchen, and rest area for captors. It was part of an intricate and interconnected underground labyrinth and was used to hide high-ranking members of the Hamas terrorist organization as well as to hold hostages. The tunnel was also linked to another recently discovered tunnel where additional captives were being held.

In a video released by the army, special forces were seen entering a small outer entrance surrounded by debris and damaged concrete near an apartment complex. The military also showcased hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades that were found and disabled during the operation.

The October 7 attack in southern Israel resulted in the seizure of approximately 250 hostages, leading to the deaths of around 1,160 people, mostly civilians. Israel claims that 132 hostages are still being held in Gaza, with 29 believed to have died. The Hostages and Missing Families Forum, a campaign group, expressed concern for the hostages’ well-being, stating that they face darkness, hunger, fear, loneliness, and sexual abuse on a daily basis. The group emphasized the urgent need to rescue them, warning that their survival is at stake.

The ongoing bombardment by Israel has forced over one million Palestinians to flee to the far south of Gaza in search of safety. According to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza, more than 27,700 people have been killed as a result of the Israeli bombardment. The Israeli military alleges that senior Hamas figures have sought refuge in the tunnel system, which they refer to as the “Gaza Metro,” deliberately constructed with entrances in and around civilian infrastructure.

The discovery and destruction of this tunnel mark a significant blow to Hamas and their operations in Gaza. Israel’s targeted raid demonstrates their commitment to dismantling the infrastructure used by terrorist organizations and rescuing hostages held captive. As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, it remains crucial for international efforts to focus on de-escalation and finding a peaceful resolution to ensure the safety and well-being of all those affected by the ongoing violence.

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