Israel's estimates in December that the length of the Hamas tunnels beneath the Gaza Strip extended over more than 400 kilometers were mistaken, "The New York Times" reports.
The newspaper says, "Israeli officials and soldiers who have since been in the tunnels - as well as current and former American officials with experience in the region - say the scope, depth and quality of the tunnels built by Hamas have astonished them." The IDF has also been surprised by the machinery that Hamas used to dig out the tunnels.
According to the report, the tunnels extend over 560-720 kilometers, accessed by 5,700 different shafts. All this in the Gaza Strip, which is only 40 kilometers from north to south.
In a meeting earlier this month, a top Israeli military official told "The New York Times" that the tunnels would not even be a factor in any future war with Hamas because of Israel’s military strength.
"Hamas has used the time and resources over the last 15 years to turn Gaza into a fortress," said Aaron Greenstone, a former CIA officer who has worked extensively in the Middle East.
IDF forces are dealing with the tunnels in a range of ways including mapping them with various technologies with the help of small drones and dogs, then flooding them with seawater and according to some reports using liquid explosive materials.
The IDF has thinned out its troops in the north of the Gaza Strip, which today allowed Hamas to fire rockets at the Gaza border settlements. At the same time, the IDF continues to operate in Khan Younis, where Israeli intelligence officers told "The New York Times" there are an estimated 160 kilometers of tunnels.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 16, 2024.
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