IDF blows up largest Hamas tunnel in northern Gaza, used by Sinwar’s brother

The tunnel, large enough for cars to drive through, ended 400 meters from the Erez Crossing.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The IDF announced Tuesday that it had blown up the largest Hamas tunnel in northern Gaza.

Due to its size and complexity, the mission entailed the joint efforts of the elite Yahalom unit, the engineering unit of the IDF’s Gaza Division, the engineering headquarters of the land forces, and the Defense Ministry’s engineering and construction division.

Built under the personal supervision of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar’s brother and right-hand man Muhammad, the underground passage was some four kilometers long with all its branches and was large enough for vehicles to drive through.

Starting in the Jabalya refugee camp, it stopped only 400 meters from the Erez Crossing.  The Erez Crossing is a crossing that thousands of Gazans had passed through daily before the war in order to work in Israel to support their families and go to receive medical attention in Israeli hospitals.

It had taken weeks to examine its length and breadth, gather intelligence information from communications equipment and living quarters found inside, and decide exactly how to wreck it in a way that it could never be used again against Israeli troops or civilians.

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The Israeli army considered it “a strategic terror tunnel,” said Major Y. in an IDF post on social media prior to the huge detonation.

In this “significant operation,” he said, “we will put an end to the terror tunnel and distance the terrorist line of Hamas from [Israeli] settlements, and in fact destroy and collapse the entire underground infrastructure in northern Gaza.”

Besides using a vast amount of explosives, the IDF site also showed a video clip of many cement trucks pouring their contents down tunnel shafts to block them from use.

The tunnel gained instant notoriety in Israel when, shortly after discovering it in mid-December last year, the IDF revealed a video clip of Muhammad Sinwar traveling through it in a car.

It was considered one more intelligence failure among many that Israel had not found the tunnel until terrorists emerged from it in order to attack IDF troops.

The IDF has said in the past that it is focusing on first destroying Hamas’ strategic tunnels. On Monday, for example, it announced that 85% of these terror tunnels in Khan Yunis have been demolished. In practice this means 20 of 140 kilometers are now unusable.

It is estimated that it will take years to get rid of the entire underground network that Hamas has constructed throughout the Gaza Strip at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.