Go Inside Gaza Terror Tunnels: CBN News Joins IDF to Explore Vast Hamas Underground War Machine
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KHAN YOUNIS, the Gaza Strip – A major discovery during the war in Gaza has been the vast size of the Hamas tunnel system, and CBN News was granted special access to head into the heart of this massive underground terrorist network.
Measuring hundreds of miles, it’s longer than most of the world’s subway systems. We recently traveled to Gaza for a rare look inside one of the most important tunnels exposed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
What is striking about the landscape in Khan Younis, the second largest city in the Gaza Strip, are the many tunnels that spread underground from shafts constructed in each and every one of the neighborhoods.
Deep into Khan Younis, ground zero in recent weeks during the fight in Gaza, IDF Brigadier General Dan Goldfus talked about the extent of the tunnel system.
“There’s a shaft in every place you can find," he explained. "There’s a shaft in the kindergarten, there’s a shaft in the school, there’s a shaft in the mosque, there’s a shaft in the supermarket – wherever you go, there’s a shaft into the underground tunnels and underground world to this inhumane entity of Hamas.”
Goldfus also pointed out how this underground network played into the October 7th strategy and aftermath.
“(Hamas) entered Israel, attacked the villages, raped, burned, murdered, slaughtered civilians. Some of them were taken in as trophies, just as trophies. Taken into these tunnels into this tunnel and such.”
“They took time, money and effort building the underground terror tunnels. Let’s go in (to the tunnel(," the general beckoned.
We headed into one of the tunnel shafts in Khan Younis. It is a whole different world, revealing how Hamas operatives have been building the tunnels for the past 18 years – literally hundreds of miles of tunnels.
We stopped at a section used by Hamas guards, and Goldfus explained how this unique battleground creates a historic challenge for IDF soldiers.
“So, what we're doing here in Khan Yunis is – for the first time in world military history – is actually maneuvering over and underground simultaneously. It took us time to evolve, to learn, to understand how to do that, but that’s what we’re doing today.”
As we moved deeper, the heat and humidity became much more intense. Then came a surprise at the next section.
General Goldrus told us, "I have a small request. Switch off all your lights.”
When the tunnel went dark, Goldfus set the scene: "They kidnapped our people. They brought them in here. I’m trying to give you the feeling of a one-year-old baby in this tunnel. Feeling of the kidnapped people brought in here and taken in these tunnels. No electronics, no connection to the outside world, just darkness and darkness and darkness from all points of view.”
With the lights back on, Goldfus showed us the room.
“Look at the tiles, electricity, time, effort, money that was put in to build this," he said. We are now at the moment approximately 15 meters underground (and it) is going deeper and deeper.”
We continued our descent.
“We're in what the general calls a strategic tunnel, not a tactical tunnel, where fighters can go from place to place, but a tunnel used by Hamas leaders and also a place where they know that at least three of the hostages were kept.”
Our next stop revealed a much different room, furnished and equipped for both guards and Hamas leaders.
Goldfus said of the room, “This is not a two-year project. This is years of building. This is years of planning. So, if anybody has a question, how long do I think the 7th of October was planned for – many years? The intentions were there for many years, years. The plans were in progress for many years. They plan how to attack women and children in the villages.”
The area we were in was likely the compound for many of the Hamas senior leaders. But after the war began, they built a cage. The IDF believes at least 12 of the Hamas-held hostages were kept there, three of whom have been released.
At the cage, Goldfus stated, "If anybody in the world needs evidence for the horrific actions that the terror entity Hamas has done, you're in it. You're in this evidence from this place over here, at least three hostages were released.”
Those hostages included Sapir Cohen, Sahar Calderon, and Or Yaacov.
The tunnel that held the hostages goes on for more than half a mile.
It was evident that it took years to build such a complex, with miles of tunnels, infrastructure, electricity, and concrete – hundreds of miles of concrete– that was used to build a network through Khan Younis and all of Gaza.
We could see many places where the route of the tunnel branched off in another direction, presenting a view of underground Gaza that resembled a spider's web.
In an underground room, we saw far more than just a regular tactical tunnel, but a strategic tunnel with tile, kitchen, and bathrooms.
Given the size and setup, General Goldfus believes Gaza Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar stayed in the tunnel; he and others have vowed to track Sinwar down.
“We will kill him," Goldfus declared. "He doesn't care about his people. He's putting his people between him and us. His putting the civilians, the population between him and us. He's running. He's on the go. He's on the run. We'll reach him."
Above ground, millions of people worldwide accuse Israel's military offensive of genocide. Yet, after an extensive study, John Spencer of West Point’s Modern War Institute countered that claim, writing: “Despite the unique challenges Israel faces in its war against Hamas, it has implemented more measures to prevent civilian casualties than any other military in history.”
“When I have to go into a neighborhood, I call the civilians out of the neighborhood to prevent myself to either injuring or hurting anybody who's not involved. I take utmost of time and effort to do so. I even tell my enemy where I'm going in by calling out civilians so he doesn't do so. He stands behind his civilians. So, it takes a bit of time. But like I said, we're maneuvering over and under (ground)."
After displaying certain munitions found in the tunnel, Goldfus expressed his amazement at the overall amount.
“The amount of weapons which you find in every house – every house, every building you move into – and you find amounts of weapons. "You’d expect that you wouldn't find, I don't know, maybe in a kindergarten – you wouldn't find weapons. So you go in a kindergarten, you find, you know, dozens of RPGs, and then you go into a school, you go into a U.N. school, and you find dozens of mortars and an IED, and it's just everywhere.”
He continued. “And you want to go into a mosque, and you want to say, hey, the mosque is out of the game, but it's not these shafts going down from the mosque, down on the ground. And in the mosque, you find mortars, RPGs, IEDs, all kinds of different other grenades, and other weaponized weaponry that were there. And you say that there's just in every corner, the entire Gaza Strip with weapons. It's just unbelievable."
Walking through the tunnel, we saw UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) bags.
UNRWA has funneled billions of dollars over the years to the Palestinians, but Israeli intelligence has determined that UNRWA staffers actually took part in the Hamas massacres and kidnappings October 7th. Various nations have frozen UNRWA funding until more is learned.
“This is an UNRWA bag used for flour now used for sand," Goldfus remarked. Pointing to another bag, he noted, “This is an UNRWA bag used to block one of these (tunnel) entrances.”
After nearly two hours, we returned toward the light above ground, struck by the realization that many hostages held for more than 120 days likely remain in tunnels like the one we toured.
General Goldfus ended his briefing with a message to the world.
“We are fighting a just war," he insisted. "On the 7th of October, we were attacked in a savage attack. This is a just war and we will win this war with patience and with stubbornness from every meter. Overground and underground. And my message to the world is patience. But the fighting here is not only between Israel and Gaza. This is a fight between the free world, a world that believes in freedom, in human rights and humanity, in life, to terrorists who believe in death."
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