Despite Israeli attacks, 80% of Hamas tunnels still intact: Report

World
Mon, 29 Jan 2024 8:53 GMT
20% to 40% of Hamas tunnel system has been damaged or rendered inoperable, says Wall Street Journal, citing American and Israeli officials.
Despite Israeli attacks, 80% of Hamas tunnels still intact: Report

Despite weeks of Israel's onslaught on Gaza, 80% of Hamas's intricate network of tunnels remains intact, according to a report in Wall Street Journal.

American and Israeli officials have said that despite Israeli attacks, hundreds of kilometers of Hamas tunnels are largely intact.

For Israel, disabling the tunnels is crucial for capturing senior Hamas leaders and rescuing Israeli captives.

While the officials cannot share exact data on Hamas tunnels, they estimate that 20% to 40% of the tunnel system has been damaged or rendered inoperable.

Most of the damaged or unusable tunnels are located in the northern Gaza Strip.

Kill Hamas leader Sinwar or release hostages

The report claims that Israel may have to choose between targeting Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar with an attack and negotiating the release of Israeli hostages.

A senior Israeli military official speaking to Wall Street Journal said that some prisoners, alongside Sinwar, are held at a Hamas command center in a tunnel under Khan Younis.

Former Israeli officials and military analysts emphasized that a possible attack on the tunnel where Sinwar and the hostages are held could jeopardize the lives of Israeli captives.

The report highlights that due to this risk, the Tel Aviv administration finds itself in a dilemma between targeting Hamas leader Sinwar and negotiating the release of Israeli prisoners.

Hamas is believed to be holding nearly 136 Israeli hostages following its cross-border attack on Oct. 7.

Israel has since launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip, killing at least 25,295 Palestinians and injuring 63,000. Nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli offensive has left 85% of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.​​​​​​​

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