Wall Street Journal: IDF destroyed only 20% of tunnels, 80% still intact

After 114 days of war, about 80 percent of the Hamas tunnel network under the Gaza Strip still remains intact, the Wall Street Journal reported today

by Sededin Dedovic
Wall Street Journal: IDF destroyed only 20% of tunnels, 80% still intact
© Amir Levy / Getty Images

After 114 days of intense conflict, the Wall Street Journal reported today that roughly 80 percent of Hamas' tunnel network under the Gaza Strip remains resilient and intact. Israeli and American officials quoted by the newspaper point to the difficulty in accurately assessing the destruction caused by Israeli forces to the underground labyrinth.

The ground offensive, launched at the end of October last year in response to cross-border attacks by Palestinian extremists, primarily led by Hamas, represents a relentless effort by Israeli forces to eliminate these underground passages.

The surprise attacks on October 7 resulted in the loss of approximately 1,200 lives, with approximately 250 hostages kidnapped and taken to Gaza. After that, Israeli forces focused on dismantling the tunnels, gradually exposing the Islamist organization's extensive underground network.

There is a large network of tunnels that exceeds all expectations, it is a small city underground that took years and many people to build.

Senior Hamas officials in the tunnels

Various methods were used to neutralize the tunnels, including bombing and flooding.

However, the meticulous process of ensuring the absence of planted bombs and hostages before destruction contributes to slow progress. The leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, is believed to be hiding underground, along with other senior commanders.

According to Wall Street Journal sources, Sinwar is said to be in a command center inside a tunnel under Khan Younis, the largest city in the southern part of the Strip. Disturbingly, reports also indicate the presence of hostages inside these tunnels, further complicating the situation.

In early January, senior Israeli defense officials estimated the total length of the tunnel network at between 560 and over 700 kilometers, exceeding the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) initial estimate of 400 kilometers. This discovery, reported by The New York Times, surprised everyone, especially considering that the total area of Gaza is only 360 square kilometers.

As the conflict continues, the question remains: how and in what way will Israel overcome these obstacles and neutralize the remaining underground threat posed by Hamas? A very uncertain period awaits us, and this conflict can go in any direction.

Wall Street