June 19, 2024 | Flash Brief

IDF Discovers ‘There is Almost No Home Without a Tunnel’ in Rafah

June 19, 2024 | Flash Brief

IDF Discovers ‘There is Almost No Home Without a Tunnel’ in Rafah

Latest Developments

An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) commander spoke on June 19 about the deadly challenges of operating in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. Private homes are connected to an extensive underground tunnel network and are boobytrapped with wired explosives that can be detonated from a distance, IDF Nahal Brigade Commander Col. Yair Zuckerman told The Jerusalem Post. “There is almost no home without a tunnel,” Zuckerman stressed, as he surveyed the challenges encountered by Israeli troops in the city’s Shabura neighborhood.

Zuckerman explained “that the tunnels connected the homes in the neighborhood in one vast labyrinth. Holes were also broken through the walls to connect them,” The Jerusalem Post reported. “Rafah is chock-filled with tunnels,” Zuckerman noted. “During the last days alone, I found 17 tunnels.”

The IDF has expanded operations in neighborhoods around Rafah. Col. Liron Betito of the IDF Givati Infantry Brigade told The Times of Israel that Hamas terrorists, waiting in tunnels for the arrival of his troops, had booby-trapped a vast number of homes in Rafah. Hamas has also used car backup cameras to ascertain when troops arrive at a booby-trapped building in order to detonate the explosives, Betito observed.

Expert Analysis

“The vast tunnel network discovered by the IDF thus far reveals the staggering military infrastructure that Hamas has constructed beneath Gaza. This extensive network, likely a critical factor in Hamas’s strategic decision-making, in part granted Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar the confidence to launch the October 7 terrorist attack. Sinwar calculated that any Israeli military response to the attack would be unable to destroy Hamas’s infrastructure, thereby ensuring the group’s survival in the Gaza Strip.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

“The IDF is uncovering the extent of Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure in Rafah and southern Gaza. As Israeli forces expand operations, they have found that Hamas illegally placed tunnel shafts and weapons in a plethora of civilian homes. This endangers civilians and has caused suffering to the people of Gaza.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

35,851 Aid Trucks Crossed Into Gaza Since Start of War

A total of 35,851 aid trucks have crossed into Gaza since the start of the war in October, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency which coordinates aid deliveries from Israel into Gaza, said on June 19. On June 18, “305 humanitarian aid trucks were inspected and transferred to Gaza,” COGAT noted. Of those, 289 trucks crossed via the Kerem Shalom crossing into southern Gaza and 16 trucks crossed via the Erez crossing into northern Gaza. “100 aid trucks were collected today from the Gazan side of Kerem Shalom by UN aid agencies and the private sector, ” the IDF added, noting that “the content of over 1,000 aid trucks is still waiting on the Gazan side of Kerem Shalom to be picked up by UN aid agencies.”

IDF Dismantles Half of Hamas Terrorist Force in Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

Eight IDF Troops Killed by Hamas Attack in Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

Seventeen Countries Urge Hamas to Accept Ceasefire Proposal,” FDD Flash Brief


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