War in the Middle East: Hamas leadership's underground network: Israel publishes new details on the Gaza tunnel system

The Israeli military has published new information about the Islamist Hamas' extensive tunnel system in the northern Gaza Strip.

War in the Middle East: Hamas leadership's underground network: Israel publishes new details on the Gaza tunnel system

The Israeli military has published new information about the Islamist Hamas' extensive tunnel system in the northern Gaza Strip. The army announced on Wednesday that Palestine Square in the center of the city of Gaza plays a crucial role. From there, “offices and apartments of the political and military Hamas leadership” are said to have been accessible underground. The information could not initially be independently verified. On Sunday, the army announced the opening of a network of tunnels in the north.

After the takeover of an area in the city of Gaza, further details of the "strategic tunnel route" were revealed, it said on Wednesday. In addition to stairs, elevators also made it possible to descend into the underground system. In some cases, food, water and electrical infrastructure were found. "In this way, Hamas terrorists were able to both escape and remain in their hideouts for extended periods of time," it said.

The tunnel network was reportedly used by the organization's high-ranking officials, Ismail Haniya, Jihia Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and others, "to control Hamas's operational activities." This information could not be independently verified either.

While international criticism of the Gaza war continues to grow in view of the numerous civilian victims, Israel's head of government is ruling out an early end to the military offensive against Hamas. "We will continue the war to the end. It will continue until Hamas is eliminated - until victory," Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video message on Wednesday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, meanwhile, called for “more targeted” military operations. “We expect and want to see a shift to more targeted operations with smaller numbers of forces that are really focused on the leadership of Hamas, the tunnel network (...),” Blinken said in Washington. The number of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip will also decrease.

The Gaza war was triggered by the worst massacre in Israel's history, which terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups carried out in Israel on October 7th. Israel responded with massive air strikes and began a ground offensive in late October. In view of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the sealed-off coastal area, Israel has recently come under increasing international pressure. According to the Islamist Hamas, at least 20,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the war began.

The Israeli Prime Minister reiterated that the military would only stop fighting once Israel had achieved its war goals. “Anyone who believes that we will stop is far from reality,” said Netanyahu. Israel will not give up until all goals are achieved. These are "the elimination of Hamas, the release of our hostages and the elimination of the threat from the Gaza Strip." Hamas terrorists only have two options: “Surrender or die,” Netanyahu continued.

In view of the global criticism of the actions of the Israeli armed forces in the Gaza Strip, the USA also demanded clearer words from the international community about the actions of the Islamist Hamas. "What strikes me is that we continue to hear how many countries are pushing for an end to this conflict, which we would all like to see," said US Secretary of State Blinken. But: "I hear practically no one demanding that Hamas stop hiding behind civilians. That they lay down their weapons, that they surrender." The Gaza war cannot end with Hamas terrorists remaining in place and declaring their intention to repeat the October 7 attacks. "It's not in Israel's interest. It's not in the region's interest. It's not in the world's interest."

The leader of the Iran-backed Houthi militias warned the US against turning the Red Sea into a new theater of war. If the US sent soldiers to Yemen, they would face something worse than Afghanistan and Vietnam, said Abdel-Malik al-Houthi. He also warned other countries to join the military coalition formed by the US. The Houthi militias announced that they would continue to carry out attacks on ships that either belonged to or supported Israel.

For his part, Israeli Defense Minister Joav Gallant warned the Houthi rebels against further attacks. "We are preparing - the troops here are ready for any mission and any command," he said. US Secretary of State Blinken called for cooperation among all partners to ensure security for shipping on the Red Sea in a telephone call with Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and his counterparts in France and Great Britain, Catherine Colonna and David Cameron.

According to the army, the Israeli air force again attacked positions of the Shiite militia Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. The military said Hezbollah's "terrorist infrastructure" and military facilities were hit. After renewed rocket fire, targets in Syria were also attacked. Accordingly, the launch sites of the four rockets and a Syrian military post were attacked.

The UN Security Council wants to vote on a resolution to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. The text introduced by the United Arab Emirates calls, among other things, for a suspension of violence in order to enable more humanitarian aid deliveries to over a million Palestinians in need. The vote had already been postponed several times: the members of the 15-member Security Council have been trying for days to prevent an impending veto from Israel's ally, the USA.