January 21, 2024 | Flash Brief

Tunnel for Holding Hostages Uncovered in Khan Younis

January 21, 2024 | Flash Brief

Tunnel for Holding Hostages Uncovered in Khan Younis

Latest Developments

Israeli forces uncovered a Hamas tunnel that once confined 20 hostages per a January 20 announcement.

The 830-yard-long tunnel, located in the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis, ran 20 meters underground and connected to a local Hamas leader’s house. Upon entry into the booby-trapped tunnel, Israeli soldiers exchanged fire with and killed multiple Palestinian terrorists.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) located no hostages inside, as Hamas had likely moved them to other tunnels. The extensively tiled tunnel included five grim, narrow prison cells with iron doors, mattresses on the floor, and small toilets and showers. The tunnel cost millions of dollars to build, according to the IDF.

Expert Analysis

“The Hamas horror-show, unleased on October 7, 2023, is unending. Each IDF advance in Gaza brings a new installment to light — this time, the weeks-long entombment of innocent civilians without sunshine, fresh air, or communication with the outside world. The Khan Younis tunnel is the southern complement to the Gaza City tunnel in which, Israel said, the bodies of five murdered hostages were discovered. Let us pray that all held hostage in the tunnels of Khan Younis survived and that the Israelis swiftly finish rooting out this Hamas terror network.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The uncovering of this tunnel further evidences the need to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure that Hamas has built throughout Gaza. Hamas honeycombed civilian areas of Gaza with tunnels, weapons manufacturing facilities, and rocket launchers, creating an unprecedented threat to Israel and to the civilians in Gaza. As Israel uncovers more evidence from these tunnels, it is important that Israel receive the support and time necessary to remove Hamas terror threats from Gaza.” —Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

Harsh Conditions

Based on DNA and other evidence, Israeli investigators determined the tunnel once contained around 20 hostages, including six-year-old Emilia Aloni, whose drawings were located in the tunnel. Emilia and her mother, Danielle Aloni, were released through the November 2023 temporary ceasefire and hostage deal.

IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari elaborated at a news conference that the hostages experienced “harsh conditions without daylight, in dense air with little oxygen, and terrible humidity that makes breathing difficult.” Some hostages “are still held in Gaza and may be under even harsher conditions, including very elderly people who need medication and help,” he continued. At least 132 hostages remain in Hamas captivity.

Red Cross Will Not Aid in Transfer of Medicine to Hostages in Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Airs Videos of Hostages, Claims Two Are Dead,” FDD Flash Brief

Israeli Forces Locate Tunnel Where Hostages Were Held in Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief


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