Israel’s Ground Forces Target Hamas Tunnels in Gaza Strip
Israel’s ground forces in the Gaza Strip have launched an operation to locate and disable Hamas militants’ extensive tunnel network beneath the enclave. This marks the next phase in Israel’s offensive against Hamas, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians.
The current conflict escalated after Hamas gunmen killed 1,400 people and took hostages in a cross-border gun rampage on October 7. Since then, Israel has conducted airstrikes and used ground troops to divide Gaza into two sections. Gaza City, the largest town in the territory and Hamas’ main stronghold, is now encircled.
Israel’s combat engineering corps are using explosive devices to destroy a tunnel network built by Hamas that stretches for hundreds of kilometers beneath Gaza. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that Israel’s sole target is Hamas terrorists in Gaza, including their infrastructure, commanders, bunkers, and communication rooms.
Israeli tanks have faced heavy resistance from Hamas fighters who use the tunnel network to launch ambushes. However, the claims made by both sides cannot be independently verified.
Israelis are concerned that military operations could further endanger hostages believed to be held in the tunnels. Israel has stated that it will not agree to a cease-fire until the hostages are released, while Hamas has vowed to continue fighting as long as Gaza is under attack.
Hamas official Ghazi Hamad challenged Israel’s military achievements on the ground, accusing them of killing civilians without any significant progress. He declared that Gaza is unbreakable and will remain a thorn in the throat of the Americans and the Zionists.
While Israel’s military operation primarily focuses on the northern half of Gaza, the south has also come under attack. Palestinian health officials reported that at least 23 people were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday in the cities of Khan Younis and Rafah.
According to health officials in Hamas-ruled Gaza, Israeli bombardment has killed over 10,000 Palestinians since October 7, with around 40% of them being children.
The United States has supported Israel’s position that a cease-fire would benefit Hamas militarily. However, President Joe Biden has urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to consider a pause in fighting.
In Gaza’s Khan Younis, rescuers worked tirelessly to free a girl buried in debris following an attack on a house that claimed the lives of 11 people. Ahmed Ayesh, who was rescued from the rubble, criticized Israel for showing its might and power against civilians, including babies, children, and the elderly.
Hamas’ armed wing fired missiles at Tel Aviv on Tuesday night, causing rocket sirens to sound in the city and other central Israeli cities. In Tel Aviv, Israelis marked one month since the Hamas attack with a candlelight vigil around photos of the hostages at Habima Square.
Israel has not provided clear details about its long-term plans if it succeeds in vanquishing Hamas. Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that Israel would seek security responsibility for Gaza “for an indefinite period” after the war. However, officials clarified that Israel does not wish to govern the enclave, and neither Israel nor Hamas would rule Gaza once the war is over.
The living conditions in Gaza have worsened significantly during the month-long bombardment. Nearly two-thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are internally displaced, seeking refuge in hospitals and makeshift shelters. The lack of food and water has become a major concern, with long queues for basic necessities such as bread.
The World Health Organization estimates that 122,000 displaced Gazans are sheltering in hospitals and another 827,000 in schools. The Israeli military has accused Hamas of using Al Shifa hospital to hide tunnel entrances and operational centers, an allegation denied by the group.
International organizations and Western countries are urgently working to provide aid to Gaza and evacuate foreign nationals. The International Committee of the Red Cross reported that a humanitarian convoy came under fire in Gaza City on Tuesday, resulting in damaged trucks and a lightly wounded driver. The source of the firing remains unidentified.