A Hamas tunnel shaft was discovered under Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital, according to a statement from the Israeli military on Sunday. Additionally, it made available video of the November 17 tunnels. What the video reveals is as follows:
What took place in al-Shifa?
Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza, was the target of an aggressive raid by Israel on November 15. Israel claimed that the raid, which lasted for days, was a “precise and targeted” search for an alleged underground tunnel system that led to the military control center of Hamas.
Israeli and American intelligence supported the claim that Hamas was running a control center beneath the hospital. This claim has been refuted by Hamas and the al-Shifa medical staff.
On October 28, the Israeli military also released an animated 3D video showing a vast network of tunnels that led to an intricate, multi-story control center.
What the latest tunnel video from Israel reveals
Israel revealed on Sunday that a tunnel under the hospital had been discovered to be 55 meters long (180 feet) and 10 meters deep (32 feet).
According to the statement, the tunnel was discovered “in the vicinity of the hospital, alongside a vehicle carrying numerous weapons, including Kalashnikov rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and RPGs.”
On November 17, a video taken with two different cameras was also made public by the Israeli military. A military bulldozer struck the hospital’s exterior wall, revealing a metallic spiral staircase that descended 10 meters (32 feet) and led to the blast door, which is typically made of metal and has sturdy closures and hinges to withstand explosions. Spokesperson Daniel Hagari told reporters that this discovery revealed the entrance. These doors frequently appear on structures like bomb shelters.
However, a Gazan civil engineer who was cited by military analyst Zoran Kusovac claimed that the video was actually made up of clips from two different tunnels.
The vertical shaft that descends is depicted in the video’s first section. It displays characteristics like concrete columns that can support loads. They appear to have been constructed using standard civil engineering methods, which would have necessitated large, noisy machines like concrete mixers.
In contrast to how Hamas tunnels are typically constructed, such a construction could not have been carried out covertly. This construction’s function is still a mystery.
The horizontal tunnel is depicted in the clip’s second section. This demonstrates the characteristics of Hamas tunnels, which are made-up pieces that are connected one after the other.
Under Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital, was a Hamas control center discovered?
So far, no control center has been located. According to Hagari, Israeli soldiers have not yet attempted to open the blast door at the end of the tunnel they claim to be under al-Shifa out of concern that it might be booby-trapped.
Many different kinds of traps can be set, according to Kusovac, to stop tunnel interceptions. They are typically made-up explosive devices (IEDs) with detonators that tripwire, light, or pressure can activate. The explosive is detonated when they notice that someone is entering the tunnel. IEDs are essentially made by big boys as toys. According to Kusovac, success increases with creativity.
Typically, explosion experts are summoned to the scene to assess the situation if armies suspect the presence of such traps. According to Kusovac, this typically only takes a few hours. The validity of the claims made by the Israeli military is called into question by this time delay. He remarked, “You say smoking gun, you get to it, and then you don’t show it.”
CNN visited the exposed tunnel shaft among other news sources to confirm its presence, but it was unable to determine whether the tunnel connected to a command center.
Are there underground tunnels run by Hamas?
Prior to the establishment of Hamas in 1987 and during the Israeli occupation of the enclave in 1980, tunnels were first constructed in Gaza. They were built beneath the Egyptian border to transport a variety of goods, including weapons, fuel, and illegal goods.
Palestinians eventually came to understand the military potential of tunnels. An underground explosive explosion that destroyed an Israeli military outpost in 2001 was the first indication that tunnels were being used by the military. When Palestinian fighters kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006 from a tunnel shaft, Israelis became aware of the tunnels.
After Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel imposed a blockade there. Tunnels evolved into a means of escaping the siege and moving supplies, weapons, and food. The tunnels strategically grew under Hamas.
Since Israel is capable of intercepting wireless communications, Hamas also uses the tunnels for wired communications.
Israel discovered the size and sophistication of the tunnels after attacking Gaza in 2014; at the time, it was thought that they stretched more than 100 kilometers (62 miles).
There would be a great deal of destruction in the tunnel war. Due to the tunnels’ smaller size, the magnitude of explosives would be higher and deadlier than usual. Regular ammunition use might be too “clumsy” and therefore unviable for the same reason.
Israel has claimed that Hamas use other hospitals besides Al-Shifa as a military base. Israel’s assertion that the Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetics, also referred to as the Qatari Hospital, had a hamas tunnel was refuted on November 8 by the verification unit of Al Jazeera, Sanadan.
The hatch, which Israel claimed to be the tunnel entrance, was actually a water reservoir system that supplied water to the grounds, filled therapeutic pools for amputees, and served as an emergency water source, according to satellite images and archival photos.
The Israeli forces’ assertion that there is a Hamas tunnel beneath Gaza’s Sheikh Hahad Hospital was unfounded, according to an Al Jazeera digital investigation. twitter.com/4640OprGwk