Israeli Forces Enter Hamas' 'Terrifying' Terror Tunnels, Engage in Close-Quarters Battle


In the darkness below Gaza, Israeli soldiers and Hamas terrorists are meeting in battles where there is no glory and no video of exploding targets — only clammy fear in an inch-by-inch contest through a spider web where death can lurk at every turn.

“We should have no illusions about how this is going to be. It will be bloody, brutal fighting,” retired Gen. Joseph Votel, the former leader of U.S. Central Command, said, according to a New York Times report Saturday.

On Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces said the battle for the hundreds of miles of tunnels below Gaza had begun, according to Reuters.

“Over the last day, combined IDF struck approximately 300 targets, including anti-tank missile and rocket launch posts below shafts, as well as military compounds inside underground tunnels belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization,” the IDF said in a statement.

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Hamas said it was contesting Israel’s advance.

“The occupation is pushing its soldiers into proud Gaza, which will always be the cemetery of invaders,” the terrorist group said, according to Reuters.

Israel has long owned the airspace over Gaza, but Hamas has carved out tunnels beneath the territory so it can hide from Israeli airstrikes. IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said Hamas has headquarters under the hospitals of Gaza, according to CBS News.

Pursuing Hamas in the tunnels it has prepared for the invader means entering “this moist, dark, terrifying, claustrophobic environment where you never know what’s around the corner, literally,” Daphne Richemond Barak, who has more than a decade of research on the tunnels, told CNN.

“There’s not a lot of air. If you’re going to be there for a long time, you need oxygen, especially if you’re a soldier,” she said. “And in some of the tunnels, you need to bend down because they’re not very high.

“When you enter one of these tunnels very quickly, you lose your sense of direction completely — where you came from, where you’re going.”

Richemond Barak said Israel cannot win its war without winning the subterranean fight.

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“Israel understands that to eliminate or destroy Hamas’ military capabilities, this subterranean network of tunnels, where Hamas has its arsenal and command and control, needs to be eliminated,” she said. “I won’t say entirely eliminated because I believe it’s impossible. But it needs to be a significant blow to this capability.”

“It’s terrain that Hamas knows so well, in which it maneuvers with ease,” she said, noting that tunnel warfare was a feature of the battles for Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.

Richemond Barak noted that Israel cannot simply kill every living thing underground.


“Now, there could be civilians in the tunnels, and most likely, there could be hostages; you need to clear the tunnels first. If they’re inside the tunnel, then it’s obviously more difficult,” she said.

She also noted that because the tunnels are in an urban environment, protecting civilians becomes a complex issue.

As of 2021, Hamas claimed it had more than 300 miles of tunnels below Gaza, according to CNN.

“It’s a very intricate, very large — huge — network of tunnels on a rather small piece of territory,” Richemond Barak said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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