Hamas-Israel crisis: IDF discovers 800 tunnel shafts in Gaza Strip

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Sunday (December 3, 2023) said it discovered 800 tunnel shafts in the Gaza Strip since it began a ground offensive targeting the Hamas group late in October.

IDF discovers 800 tunnel shafts in Gaza Strip. Photo Courtesy: IDF X page grab

The Army said 500 such tunnels have been destroyed.

“IDF troops eliminated 500 of the 800+ exposed shafts to Hamas’ underground tunnels located near or inside kindergartens, schools, playgrounds and mosques,” IDF posted on X.

“To be clear, these places aren’t childproof, but rather teeming with terrorism. Every tunnel shaft and weapon we find is further proof of how Hamas deliberately uses the residents of Gaza for their terrorist agenda against Israelis,” the force said.

Israel and Hamas are engaged in a conflict after the latter attacked on October 7 and killed 1,200 people. The Hamas group member also took 240 people as hostage.

Meanwhile, the resumption of hostilities in Gaza and its terrifying impact on civilians underscore the need for the violence to end and a long-term political solution between Palestinians and Israelis to be found, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Sunday.

“Silence the guns and return to dialogue – the suffering inflicted on civilians is too much to bear. More violence is not the answer. It will bring neither peace nor security,” Volker Türk said in a statement, voicing deep concern that negotiations towards a continuation of last week’s pause had reportedly stalled.

Fighting resumed on Friday and hundreds of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli bombardments, he said, citing the Gaza Ministry of Health.

No aid entered the enclave via the Rafah crossing with Egypt on Friday, and delivery on Saturday was restricted, further impacting humanitarian operations to support millions amid a scarcity of food, water, fuel and other basic essentials.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) also called for a ceasefire in Gaza in a post on social media on Saturday.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the reports of ongoing hostilities and bombardment were “petrifying”.

He said a WHO team visited Nassar Medical Hospital in southern Gaza on Friday, where countless people had sought shelter and patients were receiving care on the floor.

“These conditions are beyond inadequate -unimaginable for the provision of health care,” he wrote tweeted. “I cannot find words strong enough to express our concern over what we’re witnessing. Ceasefire. NOW.”