One newly revealed mission, on Day Two of Operation Guardian of the Walls, was called “Goliath City.”
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
A newly revealed mission that killed dozens of top Hamas terrorists and destroyed a large part of Hamas’ rocket production ability during last May’s Operation Guardian of the Walls was called “Goliath City,” Walla! reported in an exclusive Monday.
On Monday, May 10, the first day of the 11-day war with Hamas, Israel’s air force hit 130 terror targets in the Gaza Strip. The next day, after getting intelligence that a top unit had entered a tunnel leading into Israel in order to kidnap soldiers, the IDF destroyed it, killing the 18 terrorists inside. It then hit two more offensive tunnels with fighters inside.
The decision to strike the first decisive blow against the tunnel network that had been built over the course of 15 years under Gaza City came on Wednesday night, according to the Walla report. Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi ordered that Operation “Goliath City” be executed to demolish a huge underground bunker about 25 meters deep that hid a Hamas weapons research, development and production facility.
The air force would have to conduct a series of carefully pinpointed strikes in order to prevent civilian deaths, as the terror organization had purposefully built the bunker under ordinary urban dwellings. Numerous plans were examined and practice runs made before the 5:20 a.m. attack Thursday, in which the air force, within four minutes, hit more than 10 tunnel shafts that led to the bunker.
“We told ourselves that it was better not to attack the heart of the bunker, due to the fear of harming civilians, so we attacked the openings and so they were buried,” said a source who knew of the operational plan before its execution. “The results were impressive and accurate. If they had missed one shaft, they would have managed to escape from the bunker.”
According to IDF estimates, said the report, aside from the senior Hamas figures who were killed, the operation damaged half of Hamas’ rocket production capacity and 75% of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s production capacity.
Kochavi then decided to finish off the entire tunnel network, which the army had dubbed the “metro.”
By executing some subterfuge and deception, the IDF also tried to ensure that hundreds of terrorists would think it safe to stay in the underground chambers. At the end, perhaps Hamas suspected something, for while the physical network was destroyed, only some 70 operatives were killed rather than hundreds.
Research Division head in the Intelligence Directorate Amit Saar said the operation was an unqualified success nevertheless.
“You ask me if we achieved something significant in attacking the ‘metro’? My answer is yes with 10 exclamation points. The main thing we took away from Hamas is the understanding that it can function in this dimension as it wanted. Hamas thought they had cracked something big, that they found a solution to our superiority in air, intelligence and maneuvering. They invested everything in it – and the IDF destroyed it.”