Israel Defense Force Says It’s destroyed 400 Hamas Tunnels

Israel Defense Force Says It’s destroyed 400 Hamas Tunnels

Nov. 23, 2023, 8:42 a.m.

Ahead of an expected pause of several days in fighting, the IDF said Wednesday morning that troops have uncovered and destroyed some 400 terror tunnel shafts in the Gaza Strip since the start of the ground offensive last month.

The military also announced the deaths of two soldier in northern Gaza, bringing the ground operation death toll to 70, while adding that troops were continuing heavy fighting against Hamas in northern Gaza before a temporary truce is slated to come into effect.

Hamas and Egyptian state media said the pause, during which Hamas is to release some 50 Israeli hostages — children, mothers and other women — and Israel is set to free some 150 Palestinian security prisoners, was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Ahead of an expected pause of several days in fighting, the IDF said Wednesday morning that troops have uncovered and destroyed some 400 terror tunnel shafts in the Gaza Strip since the start of the ground offensive last month.

The military also announced the deaths of two soldier in northern Gaza, bringing the ground operation death toll to 70, while adding that troops were continuing heavy fighting against Hamas in northern Gaza before a temporary truce is slated to come into effect.

Hamas and Egyptian state media said the pause, during which Hamas is to release some 50 Israeli hostages — children, mothers and other women — and Israel is set to free some 150 Palestinian security prisoners, was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

CNN quoted an anonymous Israeli official confirming that timeline. However, another senior official told the Axios website that the timing would only be decided later in the evening. The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the reported scheduling.

Meanwhile, rocket sirens sounded in Gaza border towns on several occasions on Wednesday morning and afternoon.

The IDF said Wednesday that troops of the elite Yahalom combat engineering unit have played a significant role in demolishing the Hamas tunnels over the past month of fighting. The tunnel entrances have been found deep within civilian infrastructure, including residential buildings, schools, hospitals and other sites.

The IDF has accused Hamas of using the Palestinian population in Gaza as human shields by deliberately placing its terror infrastructure within the civilian environment. In recent days, Israel has revealed a number of tunnel shafts in and around the Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City, as Hamas has repeatedly denied that it operates underneath the medical center.

On Tuesday, the military said it had breached a blast door at the end of a Hamas tunnel discovered by forces last week underneath Shifa Hospital. The IDF said Wednesday that overnight, its Harel Armored Reserve Brigade struck Hamas tunnel infrastructure in northern Gaza from which operatives opened fire at troops several days ago.

Ahead of an expected pause of several days in fighting, the IDF said Wednesday morning that troops have uncovered and destroyed some 400 terror tunnel shafts in the Gaza Strip since the start of the ground offensive last month.

The military also announced the deaths of two soldier in northern Gaza, bringing the ground operation death toll to 70, while adding that troops were continuing heavy fighting against Hamas in northern Gaza before a temporary truce is slated to come into effect.

Hamas and Egyptian state media said the pause, during which Hamas is to release some 50 Israeli hostages — children, mothers and other women — and Israel is set to free some 150 Palestinian security prisoners, was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

CNN quoted an anonymous Israeli official confirming that timeline. However, another senior official told the Axios website that the timing would only be decided later in the evening. The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the reported scheduling.

Meanwhile, rocket sirens sounded in Gaza border towns on several occasions on Wednesday morning and afternoon.

The IDF said Wednesday that troops of the elite Yahalom combat engineering unit have played a significant role in demolishing the Hamas tunnels over the past month of fighting. The tunnel entrances have been found deep within civilian infrastructure, including residential buildings, schools, hospitals and other sites.

The IDF has accused Hamas of using the Palestinian population in Gaza as human shields by deliberately placing its terror infrastructure within the civilian environment. In recent days, Israel has revealed a number of tunnel shafts in and around the Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City, as Hamas has repeatedly denied that it operates underneath the medical center.

On Tuesday, the military said it had breached a blast door at the end of a Hamas tunnel discovered by forces last week underneath Shifa Hospital. The IDF said Wednesday that overnight, its Harel Armored Reserve Brigade struck Hamas tunnel infrastructure in northern Gaza from which operatives opened fire at troops several days ago.

Staff Sgt. Eitan Dov Rosenzweig, 21, from the settlement of Alon Shvut, served in the Givati Brigade’s Shaked Battalion.

The military made clear on Wednesday morning that it was continuing to operate in the Gaza Strip, with ground forces clashing with Hamas operatives, and strikes being carried out against the terror group’s infrastructure, ahead of an agreed-upon four-day truce that is expected to go into effect on Thursday.

The IDF said that the 7th Armored Brigade called in a number of airstrikes overnight against Hamas sites from where gunfire was directed at troops. Troops of the Givati Infantry Brigade, meanwhile, raided Sheikh Za’id, near Jabaliya, and destroyed a number of Hamas observation posts, the military said.

The IDF said its 14th Armored Reserve Brigade raided the Beit Hanoun area, locating a weapons cache inside a home. Forces of the Paratroopers Brigade’s 202nd Battalion clashed with Hamas operatives in northern Gaza, killing several of them, it said.

The IDF said the 261st Reserve Brigade identified a building in northern Gaza with Hamas operatives and weapons inside, and destroyed it, killing those inside. The Navy also carried out strikes against Hamas sites along the coast, including a residential building from which Hamas snipers opened fire at ground forces, the IDF added.

A deal approved by Israel’s cabinet in an early-morning vote consists of a four-day truce as well as freeing 150 Palestinian security prisoners in exchange for the release of 50 Israeli hostages in Gaza. Additional days could be added to the truce in exchange for the release of a larger number of hostages.

An Israeli official told reporters on Tuesday that the deal would see a complete pause of IDF operations on the ground in the Gaza Strip and an end to Israeli air operations over the territory, except in the north, where they would only halt drone activity for six hours daily.

A day ahead of the expected start of the pause in fighting, the IDF continued to urge civilians in the city of Jabaliya and the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza City, both in the north of the Strip, to move south during the daily humanitarian corridor.

The military, which has been pushing further and further into the Hamas stronghold of Jabaliya and is likely to enter Shejaiya next, said the corridor will remain open until 4 p.m. Wednesday. The army also announced that Wednesday’s tactical pause would be in the Jourat al-Lot and Batn al-Sameen neighborhoods of Khan Younis.

Source: The Times of Israel

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