Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant provided insights into the ongoing operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. On his visit to a divisional headquarters, Gallant revealed that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have made significant progress.
Notably, following the IDF's elimination of Ahmed Randor, the commander of Hamas’ Northern Brigade in Gaza, his brothers have surrendered.
"They are now providing information to the IDF and ISA," Gallant stated, indicating a potential intelligence breakthrough for Israel.Gallant further emphasized the weakened state of Hamas' infrastructure in Gaza City and the northern part of the Strip. He outlined the IDF's comprehensive approach, which includes operations both above and below ground.
"Our troops also descend deep underground to locate [Hamas] bunkers, command centers, communication rooms, and weapon storages," he explained.
Innovative Tactics and Humanitarian Concerns
In an innovative approach to counter the underground network of Hamas, Israel has informed the United States of its experiments with flooding some of Gaza's tunnels with seawater.
A US official, speaking to CNN, mentioned that Israel is "carefully testing out" this method on a limited basis to assess its effectiveness. The Israeli authorities have assured that this testing is conducted in tunnels devoid of hostages, reflecting a conscious effort to minimize civilian harm.
The Prime Minister's office of Israel has indicated that approximately 135 hostages, including some believed to be US citizens, are still held by Hamas. This adds a layer of complexity to the IDF's operations, especially in areas with a dense civilian presence.
The IDF's recent statement highlighted the extent of the underground network in Gaza, with at least 500 tunnel shafts destroyed and more than 800 located around the enclave. Many of these tunnels were reportedly situated in civilian areas and inside civilian structures.
Hamas, in 2021, claimed to have constructed approximately 500 kilometers (311 miles) of tunnels under Gaza, though the accuracy of this figure remains uncertain.