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With Mapping Robots and Blast Gel, Israel Wages War on Hamas Terror Tunnels

Israeli soldiers inspect the entrance to what they say is a tunnel used by Hamas terrorists during a ground operation in a location given as Gaza, in this handout image released Nov. 9, 2023. Photo: Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS

After locating what they described as the entrance to a Hamas tunnel under an evacuated hospital in northern Gaza, Israeli army engineers filled the passage with exploding gel and hit the detonator.

The blast engulfed the building and sent smoke spewing out of at least three points along a nearby road in a district of the city of Beit Hanoun, surveillance footage showed.

“The gel spread out and exploded whatever they had been waiting for us in the tunnel,” an army officer told reporters at a briefing at Zeelim Ground Forces Base in southern Israel.

Clearing the tunnels is an important part of Israel‘s military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in response to the Palestinian terrorist group’s deadly attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7.

When not using munitions to map out the bunkers, access shafts, and tunnels which both sides say run for hundreds of kilometers under Gaza, the army opts for tracker robots and other technology operated remotely.

The officer could not be identified under the rules of the briefing, and declined to provide further details of below-ground combat which he said was a work in progress. He did not name the hospital in Beit Hanoun.

“I think there are other methods being developed,” he said. “That is where creativity and innovation come in handy.”

In Beit Hanoun, where his forces were operating, some gunmen had stormed the Israeli military from tunnel shafts and had been killed, he said.

Israel‘s policy, he said, was not to send personnel in the other direction to confront Palestinian fighters who would have a defender’s advantage in narrow, dark, under-ventilated and collapsible passages with which they were familiar.

“We don’t want to go down there. We know that they left us a lot of side-bombs [improvised explosives devices],” he said.

One such bomb, rigged to the cover of a tunnel-access shaft at ground level, had killed four special forces reservists last week.


Hamas has tunnels for attack, smuggling, and storage, security sources say. Dozens of shafts can lead to each tunnel at depths of between 20 and 80 meters (65-260 feet).

Destroying a shaft is relatively easy and quick, the officer said, adding: “Any platoon can do it.”

The Israeli military said last week that 130 shafts had been destroyed so far, but gave no figure for demolished tunnels.

The tunnels are harder to tackle. The officer said several tons of the exploding gel — on which he declined to give any technical details, other than to say it is brought in by truck — are required for every few hundred meters of tunnel.

After-action analysis is difficult. The officer said around half of the shafts in his Beit Hanoun operation zone had been destroyed, but acknowledged that these can be rebuilt.

“It’s hard to say how many tunnels [are destroyed] because they are all connected,” he said.

Hamas has denied using hospitals as cover for such tunnels. It has dismissed assertions by Israel, backed by the US, that it has a command center under Gaza’s biggest hospital, Al Shifa, which Israeli forces entered on Wednesday.


Hamas took some 240 people back to Gaza as captives in the Oct. 7 attack in which about 1,200 people were killed, Israel has said. One of a handful of hostages released said she and at least two dozen others had been held in a tunnel.

The army officer said care was being taken not to endanger tunnels that may contain hostages.

“We sometimes get indications that this [a target] might be related to hostages. And then we know not to attack it unless we get an approval [that it is clear],” he said

Like much of northern Gaza, Beit Hanoun has been emptied of civilians, who fled south under orders from Israel as it sent in ground troops to try to wipe out Hamas.

“The only population left is the terrorists,” the officer said, adding that sometimes a secondary explosion set off by a tunnel destruction blast “will bring down a building a few hundred meters away”.

Palestinian terrorists taken captive have provided Israel with intelligence on the tunnel network, he said, but this information has been limited.

“Most of them don’t know about the whole city. But they know their own village, they know pretty well the tunnel system,” the officer said.

The officer said it could take months to destroy Gaza’s entire underground network.

“I think it’s more complicated than the New York City subway,” he said.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

The post Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis first appeared on

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.


Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

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